O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence…
O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
(Isaiah 64: 1, 8- Reading for the First Sunday in Advent)
As we begin this Advent season, I begin with the above words from the First Reading for the First Sunday in Advent. Advent is from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming.” It is a season of expectancy, anticipation, and hope. The color is blue which, in the church, signifies hope. The event for which we expect, anticipate, and hope is, of course, the annual remembrance of the birth of our Savior in Bethlehem’s manger.
Our Hebrew scripture readings during Advent will all lead us in this journey of expectancy. On Advent 1 we hear those words above. I love these two thoughts Isaiah expresses. The first is a plea: “Come!” “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down.” The prophet begs God to come, acknowledging that our God is so powerful that the divine presence will cause the mountains to quake in his presence. I, for one, sometimes need to be reminded of God’s awesome, wholly-other presence and the force it wields.
Then the second thought from verse 8, is a surrender, an admission of humility. “You are our Father, we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” It is a reminder to me that I am nothing on my own, and yet I am everything as a creation of God’s powerful yet gentle hands! The expectancy of Advent tells me that I am a child of God; I am human with a spark of the divine inextinguishable within me. I hope, with all of the activity demanded of us at this hectic time of year, with all of the preparations and rushing we all go through to get ready for Christmas…I hope that we will all take time for Advent. The words and message of this season of expectancy and hope are so powerful and so important that we should not rush this part of the journey.
Please note these special times of worship during Advent:
Pastor Laura’s ordination- December 6, 10 am, at the Seminary
Worship with Zion Baptist- December 7, 5 pm, at Zion
250th Anniversary Celebration- December 14, 9 am & 10:30 am
Jennifer Ollikainen, preaching
Lessons and Carols- December 14, 4 pm
Christmas Pageant- December 21, one service at 9:30 am
Christmas Eve- December 24, 5 pm, 7 pm, 11 pm
First Sunday of Christmas- December 28, one service at 9:30 am
Pastor Skip McDowell