GCI President Update | December 2023
Advent is a season in the Church calendar dedicated to the hopeful anticipation for the arrival of Jesus. It comes on the heels of Christ the King Sunday where we expectantly await the return of Jesus to establish his eternal kingdom.
The four-week period of Advent leading up to Christmas is a preparation for the celebration of Christmas. The virtues of hope, peace, love, and joy are celebrated week by week, and these virtues can only be realized in the person of Jesus. Advent is meant to be a progressive building up to the crescendo of the Christmas celebration. I’ve heard it said that we only get out of Christmas what we have put into Advent.
The word advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. I have a friend who is awaiting the advent of the Tesla Cybertruck. He’s on the waiting list and it will be a big day for him when it finally appears. In the case of our celebration of Jesus, we recall the incarnation – the physical appearance of the Son of God. When Jesus set aside his glory to take on flesh and blood and become Emmanuel, God with us.
The coming of Jesus was the greatest game changer for all of humanity, for all times. We even mark time as BC – before Christ, and AD – Anno Domini meaning the year of the Lord. This commemorates Jesus a notable person worthy of our attention. But even more than our attention, he is worthy of our praise and worship.
I expect that we will join our worship teams during the Advent season singing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” We will rehearse the gospel accounts of the details leading up to the birth of Jesus in the animal stall of Bethlehem, this is great, and it never gets old. My question for us today is, “Do we see and acknowledge the little advents of how Jesus comes into our lives day by day?”
I was recently at a “Faith, Hope and Love in Action” workshop in Canada. It was great being with Pastors and the Ministry Avenue Champions, and I had the privilege of being at the Grace Communion Ottawa table with Pastors Fraser and Nova. Unfortunately, Jocelyn, Nova’s wife, the Love Avenue Champion had missed her flight and was not able to attend. As a gesture of inclusion, 17-year-old Jesse, the son of Nova and Jocelyn was asked to sit in for his mother.
I don’t think the Ottawa leaders had expectations of Jesse other than his being a placeholder. Boy, were we surprised. Jesse didn’t just quietly listen he posed questions and gave valuable input. He helped steer the conversation toward the opportunities the congregation has for serving and shaping the youth. Jesse serves the congregation by overseeing audio/visual. I asked him how they would get along with him being absent, he didn’t miss a beat, “Oh I have been teaching others in my age group, they will be okay without me.”
Jesse is a young leader who gets it. Pastor Fraser was impressed and took a minute to point out that this was one of those “little advents”, markers of Christ’s presence in our lives. It was unfortunate that Jocelyn was unable to attend, however, she had been at a similar workshop that was hosted earlier in the year, so this would have been a review for her. It was a divine appointment for Jesse to be included in the circle of the Ottawa leaders.
How has Jesus been coming to you? Where are those little advents that only he can orchestrate? The season of Advent takes us back to Bethlehem and compels us to worship, but amid singing beautiful Christmas carols, lighting of candles, and all of the events of the season – How is Jesus alive and active in your life? In your family? And in your Church?
Let us pray…
O Come, O Come Emmanuel! And he will be faithful to come even in small Advents.
I am Greg Williams speaking about the life of the church!