To the People of Maize Manor UMC:
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
This year the final Sunday of November marks the first Sunday of Advent. In the Christian church, Advent is the season of four weeks that leads up to Christmas. The word “Advent” comes from a Latin word meaning “coming”, and it is a time when we prepare to celebrate the “coming” of Christ into the world. So these four weeks are the way that Christians get ready to welcome Christ at Christmas.
Now, I love Christmas. Every year I look forward to pretty much everything about the Christmas Season: from the first cold snap of winter to decorating Christmas trees to lighting candles on Christmas Eve, it’s just a beautiful time of the year. Of course, over the years, a great many Christmas traditions have been formed. Many families get together during the holidays; my family always gathered at my grandparents’ house in Cincinnati when I was a kid. Many people like to warm up on the couch and watch Christmas movies; my favorite is probably either “A Muppet Christmas Carol” or “Elf”. For many generations people have sung Christmas carols as a way to spread goodwill; as my family can attest, I have too many favorite Christmas carols to name them all. And the range of traditions goes on and on.
Some of these traditions are directly connected to the birth of Jesus in the Bible…while some of these traditions are secular in nature. Personally, I do not have anything against secular Christmas traditions – in fact, I quite enjoy many of them – but I do believe it’s good for people to think about more than just holiday cheer at the holidays. The truth is Christmas can teach us a lot about our faith. This December the people of Maize Manor UMC are going to ask the question, “What Does Christmas Have to Do with Faith?” While we seek to answer this question, we will shed light on the full significance of the birth we celebrate at Christmastime, and come face to face with God’s Kingdom here and now.
So come worship with us this holiday season, and you may discover there is more meaning to the one who was born in the manger than you realized…
Rev. Ryan Grace