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The Arrival

THE ARRIVAL is an advent sermon series and Bible study sequence that connects with key words of the sermon text for each week.  We invite you to take a slow walk with us once again into the journey of Emmanuel which means literally “with us is God.”

I can hear my parents telling us as plain as yesterday to “SLOW  DOWN!” I can still hear myself telling my own family that in our child rearing years countless times. I even tell it to myself, sometimes in my own voice and, at times, in the voice of my parents in unison. When I hear my parents say it to me in my mind, it usually results in a smile breaking though out of the corner of my mouth, like the dawn of a new day.
Every year at about this time, I ask myself to slow down to enter in and make ready. It is a struggle. My intentions are good, but I am not sure how successful I have yet to be. However, I will ask all of us to “slow down,” create room and make ready, for the arrival is coming soon.
This study is four weeks in length focusing on the words in Matthew to anticipate, turn, search, and cherish this arrival. We will explore these words from the gospel of Matthew out of the lectionary readings for Year A. The lectionary is a three-year cycle of key biblical texts that allow the community of faith around the world to read, contemplate, study, and pray over the same texts throughout the course of the calendar year of the church. In other words, we read the same texts that the larger church reads annually.
May this road and journey be one of catching up with the old friends of Scripture and may you be able to visit with the same old friends and realize that you are making new friends at the same time, for we have all changed since last year. 
Enjoy the Advent road that we trod together.

Expectantly Awaiting the Arrival,

Posted by Tobin Wilson with
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It's Time to Make Ready

In September I went to Lake Tahoe to play a few rounds of golf with high school friends that I had not seen since graduation day. Even though we had not seen each other in a long time we picked up right where we left off, recalling old times together, all talking at once, laughing, reminiscing, somehow deeply relieved to be together again. In an instant it was if they had never left.

You may have friends like that, either, nearby or far away. How fun. It was a time of great gratitude and thanksgiving. That is the nature of Thanksgiving. The next couple of months life moves fast—Thanksgiving into Advent. There is a certain cadence to this two-step. Gratitude and anticipation, like old friends.

All of this comes to mind when I look around the corner and see the Advent texts approaching anew again, like friends we haven’t spent much time with in a little while. These old friends of prophecy and hope, tireless preparation and then waiting, joy-filled stories that prepare the way for a new way to be human, or simply, human again. This year’s old friends are Isaiah, promising a child to lead us and Matthew, encouraging us to stay awake, turn, search and cherish the Christ, even though the day and hour is unknown.

Late into the second day of our time with old friends at Lake Tahoe, I came to realize something was not quite the same. Everything was different than before. The world changed around us. New questions emerged and we all had to make our way in the ever-changing world. We were different. While remaining grateful for the time we had together, we had all changed too and that mattered at least as much. This is the cycle of Thanksgiving to Advent. Not only were we catching up with old friends; we were, at the same moment, visiting and making new friends.

Just as a visit with old friends makes room for grateful remembering, we create space to reflect together how we have been transformed and part of the transformation of others.
Advent asks us to embrace old friends in the text with gratitude because they are always there and invite us to be newly shaped by the power and promise of how they still speak to us in our current day.

It is time to make ready.

Posted by Tobin Wilson with

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