Grace Avenue UMC

December 1 – 30, 2018

The characters at the beginning of Luke’s Gospel are not without their problems. Elizabeth suffered from infertility.  Zechariah was incapable of speaking for nine months. Mary & Joseph are not yet married when Mary discovers she is pregnant.  The birth of their child takes place away from home in a town where they were conscripted to go for tax registration.  Proper lodging and maternity care was nowhere to be found.  Poor and disenfranchised shepherds have their watch interrupted by an angel chorus.

In spite of the external circumstances of difficulty the story of Jesus’ birth is the anchor of joy in our faith.  It is a reminder that joy comes from inside us as a fruit of the Spirit.  The external trappings of the Christmas season are no match for the miraculous work of God, and when joy arrives, it cannot be contained, only shared.      

Scripture Readings

Dec. 1/2 – “Unspeakable Joy”
Luke 1: 5-25

Dec. 8/9 – “Jumping for Joy”
Luke 1: 26-45

Dec. 15/16 – “Singing for Joy” 
(Music Weekend)

Dec. 22/23 – “Magnificent Joy” 
Luke 1: 46-55

Dec. 24 – “Joy With The World” 
Luke 2: 1-20

Dec. 29/30 – “Realized Joy” 
Luke 2: 25-38

Pauses for Advent: Words of Wonder by Trevor Hudson

The Dawning of Indestructible Joy
by John Piper

Preparing for Jesus: Meditations on the Coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas and the Kingdom
by Walter Wangerin