Advent... Truly a Season of Waiting
By: Megan Wilcox
The charge came from Mom, “It’s time to go wake up Sarai.”
That’s all it took to send Micah, Seth, and I running to little three year-old Sarai’s bedroom where she lay, the last one still slumbering away. One of us gently shook her while another bent down and whispered in her ear, “Wake up, Sarai. Santa came last night.”
Her little eyes opened right up, still a little bleary yet quickly lighting with anticipation. As it happens, even at three she already had a keen sense of what those words meant. Santa had come last night. There were good things in store—wonder, fun, gifts. She wasted no time in scrambling out of bed, ready to go. But true to Wilcox family tradition, thanks to Dad, who liked to torture us in his own special ways, we had to walk her through our normal Christmas morning rituals before we were allowed to descend downstairs.
“Do you have your bathrobe on?” This was mostly during our short-lived, let’s pretend we live in the 50’s, bathrobe season of life.
“Do you have your socks on?” Socks were an absolute MUST. You just couldn’t celebrate the birth of Jesus without warm feet.
“Is your hair in order?” This was no small task in a family of children with thick, unruly hair, but luckily, patting down the worst of the cowlicks and snarls usually sufficed.
By the time we had walked her through these steps, the whole time urging her to hurry so we could go see what Santa had left, she was worked right up into a bundle of puppy-like energy, and the anticipation between all of us was palpable.
Down the stairs we went, rushing right into the middle of the living room where Mom was revving up her trusty vacuum. Sarai came to a quick halt, a look of confusion slowly sliding across her little innocent face. In a soft, beseeching voice, she looked at Mom and asked, “Where are all the presents?” At which point, Micah, Seth, and I burst out laughing.
It was the middle of July, and torturing our sweet, innocent, little sister by convincing her Santa had come was our mid-summer choice of amusement.
I know, I know. This is just wrong on so many levels, and I will understand if you don’t want to make eye contact with me for awhile. Even though I was only seven at the time, I feel very bad about it to this day, and what magnifies the guilt is that we did this to her more than once. That Sarai is now a normal functioning adult is truly a miracle, and I ask that the next time you see her you give her an extra big hug, and tell her you’re sorry she has such rotten, soulless siblings.
By: Pastor Scott Brodd
We're already here; the Christmas season has begun! It seems like yesterday we were celebrating the coming of Christ last Christmas. If you reflect on last year's advent season, it was probably filled with a lot of fun Christmas events including, but not limited to, caroling, candles, candies, cookies, costumes and celebrations. The weeks in between Thanksgiving and Christmas can fill up pretty quickly, which can often leave out the most important part of the season: taking time to reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ. This season is also known as the advent season. Advent is defined as the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. Therefore, the season itself is to direct us to Jesus. So the real question is...
Parents, what are you doing to point your kids to Jesus this Christmas season?
Celebrations are fun, cookies are yummy, but Christ is primary during the advent season. So what are you doing to intentionally direct your kids to Jesus this Christmas? If you haven't asked yourself this question, take some time to consider this question. For those of you who are eager to point your kids to Jesus, but aren't sure what to use or how to go about doing it as a family, look no further.
One of my personal favorite ministries is The Village Church located in Texas and this year they have worked hard to compile a resource to equip parents with the tools they need to disciple their kids during Christmas. This resource is called the Advent Guide and it is filled with neat ideas on how you can weekly gather your family around Jesus' arrival, leading them through scripture, carols, and fun activities all pointing to Jesus. It also has sections for personal study and devotion. The guide is free and can be downloaded at the link below! If you are eager to disciple your kids, this is an awesome way to do it! Merry Christmas and happy discipling!!!
By: Pastor Scott Brodd
Many of us who follow Jesus have learned to shun March 17th and all it represents because of what the secular world has declared it to be: "A-drink-and-party-all-day-to-celebrate-the-Irish Day." Even though the holiday wasn't even founded in the United States, it seems that our country has adopted it as another excuse to party. Most people do not realize that St. Patrick's day was a day instituted by Ireland to remember the guy the holiday is named after, Saint Patrick. It turns out, St. Patrick's day finds its roots in Christian history as one of the greatest missionary stories ever told. Here's how:
St. Patrick was born in the late fourth century, possibly around 385 A.D., into a Romanized "Briton" family of Christians in northeast England. Though his heritage was of service in ministry to the church, Patrick rejected faith in Jesus and led a life of his own. After 16 years of rebellion to God, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders, barbarians who were unreached people, having yet to hear of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Irish raiders plundered Patrick's village, capturing him and taking him back to the island. Patrick was enslaved for six years under a tribal chief. During these six years, God began to pry open Patrick's heart of stone and turned it into a heart of flesh. Patrick, understanding Jesus was worthy of following, picked up his own cross and followed Jesus. As he served Jesus through human slavery, Patrick learned the foreign language and culture belonging to the Irish from the unique perspective of a slave. Eventually in his early twenties, Patrick escaped his Irish captors to return back to England to serve his new Master, Jesus Christ. Patrick studied vocational ministry, and led a parish in Britain for almost twenty years.
In his late 40's, Patrick received a Macedonian Call-like dream where a voice speaking in an Irish accent begged of him, "We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us." In obedience to the call of God, having already been familiarized with the culture and language of the Irish, Patrick returned to the land belonging those who had captured and enslaved him for six years so that they might hear and know of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "The slave returned to his captors with good news of true freedom." He began by engaging individuals in villages by preaching the gospel and making disciples. When a village was reached, he moved on to the next village, repeating the process of preaching the gospel and making disciples. Much like searching for the "Person of Peace" (Luke 10:6), Patrick looked for those who were receptive to the gospel and invested time and ministry into their lives. Tradition has it that thousands were saved as a result of St. Patrick's ministry in Ireland.
So as we observe St. Patrick's day today in tandem with our church family's observance of Missions Emphasis Month, I would encourage all of us to use today to thank God for sending out St. Patrick into the harvest field of Ireland, and to pray that the Lord would send out more laborers into His harvest all around the world (Luke 10:2).
Source of Information:
Mathis, David. Remember Saint Patrick. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/remember-saint-patrick. Desiring God Ministries. [Accessed March 17, 2015, 10:00am].