Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Party!

The day before Advent started, GCF got together for its annual Christmas party. This year, we had lots of food, fellowship, lessons, and carols.

As I grow in understanding of the history of Christ's church and its celebrations, I appreciate Advent more and more. It starts the four Sundays before Christmas and is a time of preparation. Preparation for what? For Christmas, of course, but not only Christmas. At Christmas, we celebrate Christ's first Advent as a baby in a manger, but the assigned Scripture readings for Advent also remind us to prepare for Christ's second Advent as King and Judge. Advent is a penitential season, like Lent, and even uses the same deep purple as Lent in its celebrations.

Another thing that's interesting is that the first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the Christian calendar year. That's right, first Sunday of Advent is New Year's Day! (I guess that made our Advent-eve party a New Year's Eve party!) For millenia, Christians have lived on a different calendar than the rest of the world, a calendar that revolves not around equinoxes or Roman deities, but around the coming, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. By living according to this calendar, Christians have the opportunity to yearly retrace Jesus' steps as they grow as his disciples. How amazing!

That's why I was so pleased to have our Christmas party capped by a service of lessons and carols. We read from Scripture starting in Genesis, winding through the prophets, and ending with the announcement to Mary. God's story of redemption in Christ is amazing, and I am so happy to share in it with you, with the grad students and faculty at Vanderbilt, and with all who watch and wait for His return.

Merry Christmas.

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