An Invitation

Mark HersheyBlog

Has this Fall season felt packed full for you?

Do you wonder when/if things will slow down?

The pace of 2020 was a lot slower due to the pandemic. But this year things have definitely picked back up and seem busier than ever. The calendars and schedules are full and over-flowing. As we approach the home stretch of 2021, I want to invite you into something a bit different. As a church, we purposefully try to slow down during the month of December, because the meaning of this special season can be missed due to the busyness of the holidays. Whatever pace you find yourself running right now, we want to invite you into a rhythm that we believe will be nurturing and refreshing to your soul.

This rhythm we practice is one referred to as the Advent Season. The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. When we speak of the Advent Season at Hope, we are talking about a time of preparing for or anticipating the birth of Jesus, the Son of God. This year, throughout our Advent messages, our theme is “LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT”. We will join our hearts and minds together as we prepare to celebrate the awaiting, the arising, the receiving and the spreading of the light of the world.

As we are in this season, I encourage you to listen to Christmas music. Maybe you’ve been cranking Christmas tunes since September or you wait until the day after Thanksgiving. Whichever the case, I encourage you to find the songs that capture the true meaning of Christmas. Though I do enjoy Holly Jolly Christmas and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, I’m talking about ones that really point you above and beyond the material world. There are some amazing songs with rich theology that have been penned over the years: Joy to the World, Hark! The Herald Angel Sings, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, In the Bleak Midwinter, Angels We Have Heard on High, O Come O Come Emanuel and others. I’ve also really enjoyed the band Folk Angel who have recorded contemporary versions of some of these classics. Take time to pause and let the lyrics sink deep within as you listen to any of those songs.

Besides music, it is great to read through the Christmas stories found in the beginning of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke during this season. You can enter into the longing of the people of God, how they awaited and yearned for the Messiah.

We worship God by setting aside time to place our thoughts on Him and his lovely gift to this world. We all need to be reminded of the light Jesus brings! And so, we simply invite you to sing along, read along, and worship with us.

Come Along!
Pastor Mark