As we enter into December, we enter into a season of Advent. An ‘advent’ is a period of waiting. In our case, we anticipate the birthday of our savior Jesus, the day we call Christmas.

The advent season is filled with all sorts of wonderful things. Since we have moved to a new neighborhood this year, my family decided to bake tons of Christmas cookies to bless our neighbors with and get to know them a bit.

Most people in our culture will enjoy gift giving this time of year. Many people will form fond family memories. Some people will be blessed in ways they never expected.

And, in the midst of all the joy, most people will be afflicted in some way with consumerism. Many will experience a desire for ‘stuff’ and their perceived obligation to meet other’s desire for ‘stuff’ will bring immense stress into their lives. For some people, the advent season will come with painful memories of family arguments, and lost loved ones. Some people will even experience pain and loss this year.

Sorry to be a downer, but this is real. In fact, most of us will experience a convoluted mess of all the blessings and curses this season brings about.

So, my prayer for you as we enter into this advent season is this, that the Lord might give great joy, even in the midst of pain, that we might endure every trial. I pray that the love of Christ might prevail in your life and that your hope will increase. And I pray that your heart would be steadied on the One who always gives perfect gifts. For He has already given you His Son, Jesus.

At Sonrise, we are going to begin our advent season this coming Sunday as we look to the topic of Joy. We are going to celebrate together as a family. I’m excited to see our kids take part in the worship service and to lead us in songs of rejoicing. I hope you will commit to be a part of our worship services throughout the month, even on Christmas day, the day we so anticipate during the advent season.

I also want to remind you that we are collecting gifts for a toy drive at Mountain View mobile home park. I encourage you to participate in this opportunity as a way to express Christ’s love to our neighbors. Please bring your gift, unwrapped, this Sunday, the 4th or on the 11th.

God bless you and see you Sunday!