Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Monday, December 11, 2017

Advent Joy

Here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church we continue to travel through the Advent season. Last Sunday we lit a candle for peace and heard a message about John the Baptist, titled “Make A Straight Path.

On the upcoming third Sunday of Advent we light a candle for “Joy.” Advent 3 will also be the Sunday that the Sunday School children and the Mount Hebron Presbyterian youth present their annual Christmas pageant. This years program is titled “A Christmas Window” and invites us to consider some of the secular and religious traditions we associate with the season.

As a person who has been involved in more Christmas play rehearsals than he cares to mention, I can testify that one of the true miracles of Christmas is when the Nativity play actually turns out to be a great success!

Along with the Christmas play we will be receiving a Christmas Joy Offering. This is one of the annual opportunities for giving that is offered to us through the larger Presbyterian Church. The gifts we offer will be used to support Presbyterian-related racial ethnic schools and to provide critical financial assistance for Presbyterian Church workers who are passing through a time of need.

Despite all the good feelings that the season evokes, this time of year can be a difficult one to travel though if we have suffered loss during the year. Memories of loved ones, no longer with us, can really sap the joy out of our attempts at celebrating. Bereavement may not be the only sense of loss we feel. Life circumstances can change in both the public and private arena of our lives. Many are concerned with the current state of the life of our churches and with the combative atmosphere in the nation.

This year we have added to our opportunities for worship a Winter Solstice Service of Remembrance, that will take place in our sanctuary, 7:00 pm,on the evening of Thursday, December 21. This will be a time to light candles, listen to reflective music and readings and seek the comfort God offers, to lift us from any darkness we feel. Hopefully such a time will allow our often frayed and fragile hearts to recognize the joyful embrace of a God who promises to walk with us through the changing seasons of our lives.

Surely that is the message of every Christmas play. In Jesus Christ, God comes to where we are. He takes on all the vulnerability of being a human on this sometimes hostile and unfriendly planet. We see the One through whom the world was created being told that there was no room for Him to stay. We witness a revelation of glory that comes to a selection of working folk in the fields as well as to wise dignitaries from far off lands.

For some music, a beautiful version of the traditional carol “In the Bleak Midwinter” performed by Dan Fogelberg. As we light a candle of joy this coming Sunday let us pray that the light of God's love will penetrate the darkness of many hearts... including any difficult places that may exist in our own lives.

The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D

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