A Moment for Mission
"In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land." —Jeremiah 33:15, NRSV
What are your favorite traditions to prepare for Christ's coming?
Preacher's daughter Kristin Knudson grew up in the California-Nevada Annual Conference. "Our family Advent wreath worked well with three kids," she recalls. "On the first week of Advent, the youngest lit the first candle, second week next kid in line, up through my dad for Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. The person who lit the candle got to pick their favorite carol for everyone to sing."
The Rev. Allison LeBrun, who now serves Grace United Methodist Church, Vermilion, Ohio, remembers the Advent calendar of her childhood. "Ours had pockets that my mom would put three minibars of chocolate in," LeBrun says. "A mouse … moved pocket to pocket. We took turns as siblings moving the mouse. You couldn't get your chocolate until the mouse was moved!"
Una Jones loves "remembering those in need" by drawing a name from an angel tree. A member of Bright Star United Methodist Church, Douglasville, Georgia, she knows her gifts will make Christmas special for someone she may never meet.
Suzanne O'Dea, a deacon at her California Lutheran church, says she loves "all of it. There is a unifying energy," O'Dea notes, "that crosses generations, economics, race and gender—all the things we allow to divide us."
No matter how you celebrate Advent, may you experience God's blessings as you prepare for the best gift of all, Jesus Christ!
Loving God, as we prepare for your Son's birth, inspire us to reach out in word and deed to your children and to share the good news of the Christ child. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: First Sunday of Advent – Holy God of Light and Love: Lead us through this season of journey, not only in our worship, but also in our living. Ignite not just candles, but the flames of our faith, that we might more fully trust you with all we are and all we have. As we offer our gifts to you, open our hearts to the joy of generosity, that we might give compassion recklessly, judgment sparingly, and forgiveness unconditionally. In the name of the Christ, we pray. Amen. (Jeremiah 33:14-16) (Luke 21:25-36)
When their beloved grandmother died last year, sisters Megan and Kristen remembered the woman's unfailing love. A retired schoolteacher and mother of six, Grandma Ruth had a quiet presence that lit a room. And since she had lived nearly a century, her granddaughters, now adults, weren't quite ready to let her go.
This year, when the Spirit of Christmas names appeared at Grace United Methodist Church, Carbondale, Illinois, the young women found a way to honor their sweet grandmother. They skipped past the tiny angels and went straight to the sometimes-forgotten seniors. Their adopted angels are in their 90s.
"Last All Saints Sunday," said Kristen, "my grandma passed away at age 99. Many of my favorite memories with her were during the holidays. I chose a 96-year-old for the Spirit of Christmas project, so I could honor those memories and my grandmother."
As you celebrate Advent, find ways to honor the Christ-child and people you love.