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This Week at JMPC 12.2.18

So, Advent is here! Happy Advent! Note I did not say Merry Christmas. Why? I want to be theologically correct (“TC”?). Advent is much like Lent in that it is a season that prepares us for a Christian celebration of something really big. Lent is the forty days that get us ready for Easter. The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and the defeat of death itself. The four weeks of Advent get us ready for Christmas. The celebration of Jesus’ birth – the incarnation of God. Yet, theologically, both Lent and Advent are separate from the great events they precede. They are a time of preparation, not yet celebration. One place we see this separation between Advent and Christmas is in the music of the season. If you look in our Glory to God hymnal, you will notice that there is a section called: Jesus Christ: Advent (Hymns #82-107). Those hymns are followed by the section called: Jesus Christ: Birth (Hymns #108-156). This latter set of hymns contains the majority of our beloved Christmas carols. If we want to be “TC” we should sing only Advent hymns until Christmas Eve, and only then should we sing Christmas carols. Not a lot of time to sing all those carols. But folks really like to sing Christmas carols and they like to sing them in church! And most importantly, they like to sing them before Christmas, because … well … after Christmas, we are kind of over it (maybe because we have been listening to them on the radio 24/7 since the Friday after Thanksgiving). I get that. I like carols, too. So, this year at JMPC, we are going to be a bit “un-TC” and sing some carols during worship on Sundays. But fear not, Pastor Jeff will be explaining the theological message of those carols so that we can truly prepare for the great celebration of Jesus birth.
This Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, we will explore the carol, “Good Christian Friends Rejoice” (note how our hymnal invites women to rejoice as well…), and its phrase, “Christ was born for this.” For what? Come and hear Pastor Jeff preach “Born for This” based on Colossians 1: 15-20. Come and lets all prepare for a Merry Christmas!

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