Written by the Reverend Woody Brown
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…
His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Advent is our time of waiting and preparing. Long ago God came into our world as a baby. The Babe of Bethlehem entered as “God is with us,” bringing hope and joy for all the world.
Today we draw near to this ancient crèche waiting for the Christ Child to be born again into our lives and our world. The promise of Christmas reminds us that God refuses to remain distant from God’s beloved children and creation. God came long ago and continues to come. Part of our preparations for Christmas is to prepare room in our lives for Jesus to be born again. In saying this, I suggest we make following and serving the Christ a priority in our lives. In the name of Christ, I offer specific suggestions:
Commitment to being in worship with your church family,
Pray regularly for those in need and those you love,
Give faithfully as God has given to you, and
Spend time helping others.
Several years ago, my family lit the candles on the Advent wreath. Our oldest son Russell was six years old at the time. We asked him to read the closing prayer. After reading the prayer, young Russell said, “I can sing this.” To this offer, Jennifer quickly said, “Oh no, that makes me too nervous.” I thought, “Why not? It will be sweet.” So we practiced in our den at home. Russell was prepared. We lit the candles and read the scriptures. I said “let us pray,” and held the microphone for Russell to sing a prayer. For the first time in worship, he offered his sweet six year old voice in song:
“O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel.”
This is my prayer for us this season. May God bless our Advent waiting and preparations.
Woody Brown is the Interim Pastor and Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas. Woody has served the Presbyterian Church for 30 years. He has served in pastoral ministry in urban, sub-urban, and rural areas. His passion in ministry is serving and leading the people of God. Most recently, Woody served as the senior pastor of the Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, Kansas.