(In The Life Of The Church)
Over the next four weeks we'll be hearing form various folks in our community on the themes of advent. Those themes could be any number of things including: waiting, light in the darkness, anticipation, the lectionary texts or the four explicit themes of the candles (hope, peace, joy and love). Our third entry comes from Bethany Parrot. Bethany graduated from Truett and Baylor with a master of divinity and a master of social work, respectively. She currently serves at the Methodist Children's Home. _____________________________________________________________
As the Church continues into week three of the Advent season, we reflect on the meaning of joy. This time of year, our culture tells us that joy should be effortless. This is the happiest season of all, full of twinkling lights, upbeat songs, ugly Christmas sweaters and countless get-togethers. If joyous things are all around us, then why is joy so hard to find and maintain for so many?
My current ministry involves loving on teenage girls who come from hard places. Through my relationship with these girls, God continues to shape my understanding of the gospel. Prior to this ministry, my experience with most children was that they all appeared to exude a natural joy. They were innocent, un-jaded and full of expectation of the good in the world. They were not weighed down by the darkness of this world and therefore could live freely and joyfully, trusting that they were loved and accepted. But many of the children I work with have not experienced life in this way. They have seen the darkness of the world and understand the brokenness firsthand. Joy does not come naturally to many of them. For them, joy must be sought. They must actively choose joy.
The deeper my relationship with each of them grows, I notice that often their encounters with joy happen at unexpected times and places. It rarely comes through outward things or in planned activities. Instead, those moments of deep joy are experienced through authentic relationship and in simple expressions of love towards them.
The image of a broken child experiencing redemptive joy is a beautiful glimpse of the power of the gospel. This world gives us plenty of outward things to make us happy, but it is authentic relationship that brings true long-lasting joy. This week we reflect on the most unexpected encounter with true joy in the form of a child who came to earth which was God’s greatest expression of love towards us.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6
This child loved the world so much he came to create a way for us to have an authentic relationship with God the Creator. It is in this most unexpected encounter that we can live in relationship with God which allows us to expect good in a world of brokenness and to love each other deeply in a way that exudes joy. Because of the good news of Jesus’ birth we can maintain an expectation of hope, peace, and joy.
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” -Luke 2:10-11
This week may we recognize the moments of joy in our lives, appreciate the authentic relationships surrounding us, and live our lives so that others may be filled with the joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Whether you feel like the un-jaded child or the child who is weighed down in darkness, may we all embrace the true joy that is possible through the birth of Jesus.
A Note from Human Resources
Don't forget to bring your notes of encouragement for our UBC staff members to church this Sunday! The drop off box will be located on the table in the church entry.
-UBC HR Team
We Need Your Help (with greeting)
UBC is in need of greeters for the spring semester! Greeters serve one Sunday per month January through May. It's a great way to serve our church while meeting new people! You can sign up here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MRWNHC5 or contact Maxcey Blaylock at email@example.com for more information.
Free Concert @ UBC
Bradley Hathaway//Least of These//Sun City at UBC
There will be a FREE concert at ubc on Saturday (tomorrow) featuring three great acts. Doors will open at 7, and it should be a great time!
Sunday School is over for the semester. Stay tuned for next semester’s classes!
Work is Worship
Greeters: Rick & Kelsey
Coffee Makers: Timothy & Adrienne
Mug Cleaners: Cooleys
- Sunday Sermon Luke 3:7-18 "Advent 3"
ITLOTC will not be in print Friday December 25 and January 1. Please take the time that you would have used to read this newsletter to celebrate baby Jesus, enjoy family, and play with your new toys.
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UBC HR Team
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