Greetings Jesus’ name!
It is so good to be back in New Haven and to be able to meet so many of you at Church last Sunday. Thank you for your prayers and for your support. Chitra and I are grateful for your love and friendship which encourage us as we seek to serve God and you through our ministry here at St. John’s.
Over the past few days I have been busy meeting with a wide variety of people on the streets, in their homes and at our church. It has been very interesting to engage with these folks by sharing the Christian message through conversations, practical acts of service, regular worship and prayer. I have had to spend time to listen to people, counsel and pray with them I have set aside time to read a couple of books each week. I am currently reading Alan Roxburgh book Structured for Mission and am writing a book review on it.
Christmas Decorations: Mazen, Brian, Noah and I have been putting up the Christmas decorations. The lights on the church look nice in the night. We hope you will enjoy it and tell your friends to come and enjoy it as well.
Advent is a season for preparation: an opportunity to remember the detailed preparations that went in to the coming of our Lord Jesus. This was a promise made by God to David, it was emphasized by the different prophecies in the Old Testament concerning this promised “Messiah”. God was going to step into history and deliver us from the power and consequences of our sins. The Bible records the Ministry of John the Baptizer with his message of repentance and preparing the way of the Lord. The gospel account of the Angelic visitation to Elizabeth and Mary helps us to appreciate the meticulous arrangements being made by God for his people. The historical record of the Roman census under Augustus Caesar is woven into the preparations for the fulfillment of prophecy concerning the Birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem which was David’s city.
In the liturgical calendar the church uses this season to help its members remember the promises of God and to recognize the fulfillment of God’s Word. We use this season to remember that God sent His Son as a fragile child born into a humble, vulnerable and hostile context. The next time Jesus returns He will come as the glorious King and judge. We are called to wait and prepare for His imminent return.
The Advent Candles:
Many Churches around the world symbolically light candles in the four weeks before Christmas to mark the great themes that are related to the Christ event.
The 1st Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope with the lighting of the “Prophet’s Candle” reminding us that the coming of Jesus was both promised and prophesied. People lived in darkness, ignorance and sin and God was sending His Word to come and dwell amongst us.
The 2nd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith with the lighting of the “Bethlehem Candle” reminding us of God’s promise to David and the difficult journey that Mary and Joseph’s had to make to Bethlehem.
The 3rd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy with the lighting of the “Shepherd’s Candle” reminding us of the Joy the world would experience at the birth of Jesus.
The 4th Sunday of Advent symbolizes Peace with the “Angel’s Candle The Angelic choir sang to startled lowly shepherds, that this was a day of great Joy because the Christ was born to establish Peace on earth and good will to all. They remind us of the mission of the Messiah which was to usher in a new “Peace on Earth and Good Will amongst all people.”
Christmas Bake and Crafts Sale on Sunday, December 13th: This will begin after the Sunday worship from 12:30 till 3:00 pm.
I look forward to seeing all of you this Sunday at Church. Take care and God Bless you. Be assured of my prayers, friendship and love.
Your pastor and friend,
Rector St. John’s Episcopal Church