Pastor Joe McGarry

During this time of year the nights grow longer. That makes being a kid riding in a car pretty tough. Though it certainly helps when video and DVD players and iPods light up the night. As a kid during Christmas many times we would make the trek from Vermont toPennsylvaniato visit family. During that trip one of my favorite things to do was to look out my window and see the Christmas lights wed see every once in a while.

From time to time as we make our way along Gods path through this Advent season we catch glimpses of the light of our heavenly home. These hints come to us as a favorite hymn or song in worship. They also come as a renewed awareness of the forgiveness, acceptance, and peace God offers through the pastor. They especially come as that wonderful taste of the heavenly feast when we celebrate the Sacrament of Christs body and blood.

These glimpses thrill our hearts and remind us of the wonderful place waiting for us. The lit candle on the Advent wreath-and the three that remain to be lit in the coming weeks remind us how little time is left to prepare for the day that is rapidly approaching. Paul reminds us of this same fact in our Bible reading today.

Like a beautifully lit house at Christmas time, Jesus shatters the darkness and fills us with the warmth of His glorious light. He is the Light of the world who came into the darkness and vanquished it through His suffering, death, and resurrection. And each of us who were reborn in His image in Baptism shine like stars in this dark night of sin, giving those who do not yet know Jesus Christ a brief glimpse of Gods love through our words, attitudes, and actions. How brightly are you shining in the crowded store aisles, in the long checkout lines, in the jammed parking lots, and on the busy roads?

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we would be Your lights, shining brightly in this dark and selfish world. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit that we may live as You choose, bringing the light of Christs love to this dark world. In Jesus Name. Amen.

In this weeks Old Testament Lesson our brothers and sisters in Christ are excited to share a similar message with us: Lets go up to the house of God! But it isnt a once-a-year invitation just for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. This invitation is given to us every weekend. Their joy wont be quite as full unless you are there with them!

It took a lot of hard work and planning by dozens of dedicated people to put the National Youth Gathering together. But to put our heavenly reunion together it took Jesus life, death, and resurrection: He suffered and died to take away our sins so we would be fit to come, and He is now preparing a place for us to stay eternally.

*Adapted from the LHM 2016 Advent Devotions

Did you receive a Thanksgiving invitation this year? I guess all of us who regularly have the chance to gather with family and friends for the holidays take it for granted. The wonderful smells of the holiday meals, the laughter filling the house, and everybody catching up with events in each others lives make the holidays so special.

But today Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end and all those happy get- togethers must break up. Roads are packed with travelers scattering their separate ways. Of course in a few short weeks, well hear a new invitation: Come on up for Christmas!

The church is sending out its own invitation this Advent. In the next few weeks people in churches all over will be decorating, learning parts for the Christmas pageant, and practicing anthems for Christmas Eve. We are doing all of this because we want to invite you to come on up for Christmas as together we will celebrate our Saviors coming.

This invitation is unlike any other that you will receive. You will not have to worry about getting stuck at the kids table or not having enough mashed potatoes. There is room for all and your cup will overflow with wonder and amazement.

Thats what Advent is all about, and thats what these Advent devotions are all about. We will recall why the Lord Jesus came down from heaven so long ago. We will recall that the only way we can call heaven our home was because Jesus took our guilt and sin upon Himself and suffered and died in our place. Then, putting our faith in Christ, we will join our brothers and sister in Jesus Christ in joyful expectation as we journey on together. So light the first Advent candle, and accept our invitation. Prepare the way of the Lord.

THE PRAYER: Gracious and Loving God, thank you for the opportunity to gather with family and friends. Thank you also for always being there for us even when we might not see you there. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with life? Coming up on the holidays I have been feeling more and more overwhelmed. There is so much to do and it feels like I do not have any time to accomplish anything!

I think one reason for this is because I am not very organized. Therefore I have been looking into the GTD philosophy. The guru of GTD is David Allen. Recently on the Lifehacker blog they showed a video of David Allen with his office setup. I was very intrigued as to how he has his office set up. Take a look at the video below, I know that I have picked up some things that I want to implement in my own office set up. I hope you do too.

But for now here are the Lutheran websites for your enjoyment:

1. Living Lutheran This is a new site run by the ELCA. There are stories about people living out their faith posted on the website. There is a great resource of Lutheran blogs, videos and as well as other resources. On the website you will find posts on culture, and there will beplentyof conversations about what is happening in the world from a Lutheran perspective. I was a featured blogger on their website recently so you know it has to be good. The picture of vermont pennsylvania visit family and hymn song worship with sacrament christ body.

2. Lutheran Central This Lutheran website was launched in 2016. However, after about a year the website was too much for one person to keep up so it stooddormantfor a number of years. In January of 2009 the site came back to life and it is a great resources for people to use to keep up on all things Lutheran. Their goal is to connect Lutherans on the web and there is lots of information on it so check it out.

Lots of great information on all of those websites. Check them out and feel free to link back so others can check them out as well. The more we can get connected online the better off we will all be.

More from our blog

  • Why Religious Decline Helps Republicans I wont go as far to say that religion in America is dying but its probably fair to say that it isnt doing well. My guess would be that the younger you are, the less this shocks you. A […] Posted in religion and spirituality
  • Kingdom god course nicodemus While Jesus was on earth in His ministry, there were many disciples of Christ who claimed to follow Jesus (John 6).? When they saw that He did many supernatural miracles, feeding the five […] Posted in christianity
  • Signs baptism water Theres the story of a little boy being baptized. He was old enough to have some idea of what was happening. Some of the words resonated with him: I believe, I will, I do. All words of […] Posted in christianity
  • Seats pheobe griswald In our Baptismal liturgy, beginning on page 302 of The Book of Common Prayer during the examination of the candidates, we ask several questions: Do you renounce Satan and all the […] Posted in christianity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *