I’ll be the first one to admit that it is a “churchy” word. You probably don’t hear it outside of “church world”. Afterall, the word, “advent” has its roots in the Roman Catholic tradition derived from the Latin word, “adventus” which literally means “coming”.
Putting “advent” in its right place, it is a “churchy” word that is often connected to getting ready for the coming of Jesus at Christmastime. So, we plan parties, decorate homes, prepare for church services, and listen to carols.
But, whether you grew up with the word, “advent” or you’re just learning about it - I want to invite you to consider how the first Christians thought about and practiced advent.
They didn’t see advent as manger scenes, charcuterie boards, Amazon lists, and Pentatonix on Spotify, but rather looking for Jesus to return (Matthew 24:36, John 14:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, Revelation 22:7).
Simply put, advent was about their hearts - not about their calendar.
They practiced silence. Diligently looking. Waiting well.
So, over the next three weeks of blogs, I’m going to help us dive into silence, looking, and waiting… not for Jesus in a manger, but for Jesus coming back and making all things new (Revelation 21:5).
So, share this blog with family and friends as we rest in silence to hear God speak through prayer. Look diligently for ordinary things that point to Jesus’ presence today and his coming in the future. And, wait well as we are patient - not jumping to conclusions, but resting in God’s Word.
Sure, in this season of “advent”, let’s continue to get ready for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Hang lights. Sing carols. Go to church.
Let’s also prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus - whenever that will be.
Jesus has come. Jesus is risen. Jesus will come again.
From time to time, we all find ourselves in a hot mess. . . especially during the Christmas holidays.
The truth is, God didn’t create us or redeem us to be a hot mess.
God has created us in His image (Genesis 1-2) which means that we are more complex than we could ever imagine. We have emotions that feel brokenness and wholeness. We have curious minds that wonder and seek understanding (“why?”). We have lives that ache and long for connection.
So, in all of this beautiful complexity that we can humanity, here are three things God gives us permission to do when you’re in a hot mess this holiday season (and anytime!).
You have permission to ugly cry.
It’s OK for ugly tears and laughing until your side hurts to co-exist.
Take a note from Joy and Sadness, themselves.
God gives us both joy and sadness to feel and to own. So, cry away. Your tears are given by God to express your sadness just as much as your giggles are given by God to express your joy.
You have permission to care for yourself.
I was recently reminded that in moments of crisis and trauma, before tending to others, you must first care for yourself.
Here is what caring for yourself might look like:
Bethany Dearborn Hiser says “taking care of ourselves is essential for our well-being as beloved children of God, allowing us to be effective and resilient, loving people instead of using those we serve to support or enhance our own sense of worth”.
You can check out Bethany’s entire article from Christianity Today, here.
You have permission to find your way back to Jesus.
Between the hot messes and ugly tears combined with all the feels, it’s easy to lose sight of Jesus.
The good news is that Jesus has never lost sight of you.
These five responses may help you as you find your way back to Jesus:
What have you found helpful when you're in a hot mess during the Christmas holiday season? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to share an update regarding the Environmental Safety issues at Main Campus and how we are moving forward.
First, great news about this week’s Sunday Worship!
We plan to gather for Sunday Worship on-site at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00am and online at 8:00, and 9:30am!
Here’s what to expect Sunday:
West Bathrooms by the chapel are closed.
Public bathrooms can be found in the following locations:
Otherwise, this Sunday will feel pretty “normal.”
What's happened so far this week…
On Monday, a Professional Abatement Team (PAT) isolated the facility areas compromised by the Environmental Safety Issues and began “cleaning the air.”
On Wednesday, the PAT began remediating the environmental hazards, removing carpet, sheetrock, and other contaminated items that cannot be cleaned over the next three days. They will also attempt to clean as many of the free-standing items located in the affected areas as possible.
After everything is cleaned, the basement will most likely be exclusively used for utility access. Furthermore, we are looking at installing groundwater control solutions to prevent future issues.
A separate and related water issue was discovered inside the wall of the West Bathrooms (by the Chapel). This specific situation also contributed significantly to the overall environmental safety of the facility. We will know more about the extent of remediation and reconstruction necessary for the West Bathrooms later this week.
Our Professional Abatement Team continues to remediate the environmental hazards in the affected areas of our Main Campus Facility.
Thanks in advance for helping make Our Savior a place where all people can belong, gather, connect, serve, and be sent to love God, love people, and live like Jesus!
Between now and Sunday, here’s how you can pray with us:
See you Sunday… on-site or online!
Meet Pastor Tim
Tim Bayer has served as Our Savior's Lead Pastor since September 2019. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University - Irvine, a National Leadership Facilitator and Resource, and a Community Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Tim studied sociology, psychology, and theology prior to earning his M.Div at Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. He has also is a candidate for an Ed.D (ABD) in Transformational Leadership. He is married to Beth and they have three young children. Together, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, experiencing culture, and pizza and movie nights.