Expectations & Hopes

Pastor Ryan Thompson | Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 2:1-6, 9-11

Christmas comes loaded with anticipation of what might be received, yet inevitably brings some measure of disappointment. Did the amazing story of Christmas and Epiphany, which culminated in the witnessing of the infant Jesus, also prove underwhelming for those who originally experienced it? Why does such great expectation often lead to great disappointment? Join Ryan Thompson as he looks back on the Christmas story, explores the tension of the “now” and the “not yet”, and finds the One who is the ultimate fulfillment of all hopes.

Awaiting the King

Mr. Jacob Graudin | Psalm 96

While we tend to keep politics and religion at arm’s length during the holidays, Christmas deals directly with both. The Incarnation of Jesus brings with it an answer to the perennial question of politics and religion both: “Who’s in charge?” Today’s reading from Psalm 96 announces the kingship of Almighty God with crackling clarity, casting down all rival powers and principalities. Join Jacob Graudin as he revels in this proclamation, and celebrates the reality that, in Jesus, our King has come, and our King is coming.

Uninvited, Unknown, Unfazed

The Very Rev. Peet Dickinson | Luke 2:1-20

Jesus is born and “laid in a manger, because there was no place for [him] in the inn.” This detail is more than a footnote; indeed, it is a central aspect of Jesus’ Nativity: unnoticed and unknown. Why is the Word of Creation not welcomed by his own Image-bearers? Why would he come, even when uninvited? Join Peet Dickinson as he expounds the story of Jesus’ birth and finds comfort and our commission as followers of the Incarnate Son.

The Undeserved, Impossible Promise

The Rev. Patrick Schlabs | Luke 1:26-38

Christmas marks the strange reversal of expectations: a virgin and a barren woman both become pregnant, a forgotten people ignore the coming of their deliverer, and a King is born in squalor. Yet this upside-down story is the story of the Gospel, and rings loud the truth of a God whose love knows no bounds. Join Patrick Schlabs as he examines Gabriel’s visitation to Mary, and finds God’s age-long promises coming to fruition.

Those Who Dream

The Very Rev. Peet Dickinson | Psalm 126, Isaiah 65:17-25

Although our society often venerates famous “dreamers”, visionaries who lead the way forward, yet it is also the case that to be called a “dreamer” can be a dismissal, a relegation of one’s vision to mere fantasy. Today’s readings from both the Psalms and the prophet Isaiah present dreams not based in fantastic escape but in a hope in God’s faithfulness. Join Peet Dickinson as he looks at the kingship of Jesus and sees a future hope that should cause us all to be wakeful dreamers.

The Comfort and Commission of Advent

The Rev. Patrick Schlabs | Isaiah 40:1-11

Chapter 40 of the prophet Isaiah begins with the cry of “Comfort, comfort!”, a call directed towards a devastated, exiled people. Yet along with the call of comfort, we also find a commission to return to their calling to reveal God’s glory to the whole world. The season of Advent speaks a similar word in our hopeless world as God’s people are called to declare and display the hope of Christ’s coming kingdom. Join Patrick Schlabs as he peers into Isaiah’s message of hope, and finds within it a commissioning of God’s people to become, in the words of missiologist Michael Goheen, “people whose very lives point to the culmination of history.”

Beginning with the End

Mr. Jacob Graudin | Isaiah 64:1-9, Mark 13:24-37

The first Sunday of Advent brings with it the start of the new liturgical year, yet our readings for this Sunday speak of judgement and endings. However, as the poet T.S. Eliot reminds us, “the end is where we start from.” Join Jacob Graudin as he explores the prophet Isaiah and the Gospel of Mark, and finds the imperative that the Christian must begin with the end in mind.