Advent is celebrated by Catholics, Orthodox, and many Protestants
- Originally a season focused on preparing new Christians to be baptized
- There was a stronger emphasis on Jesus’ baptism than on his birth
- This meant a lot of Prayer and Fasting
- Then connected with the 2nd Coming of Christ
- Only later connected with the first coming, Christmas
- 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
It’s a beautiful picture of what can happen when we pray.
- We become aware of an open heaven above us, with gifts pouring out
- The Holy Spirit rests upon us because we have become still
- God affirms us as his beloved children
- Sent out (what happened after Jesus’ baptism?)
- Empowered to overcome temptation
- Sent on mission
As a community, we are somewhat constrained by the pandemic. We have an opportunity to observe Advent as a time to focus on our prayer lives, to prepare ourselves to be baptized in the Holy Spirit again and again.
- Regular witnesses (you all) encouraging us to pray
- Focusing on MWF prayers, inviting people to them
- Take a moment now to work on a goal for your prayer life:
- Increasing time?
- Reading more Scripture?
- Incorporating Family Prayer + Lord’s Days (Sabbath)?
Let’s spend this season growing closer to God.