Our worship focus for this Second Sunday of Advent is “Glories stream from heaven afar”

The shepherds got quite a wake-up call that night when the sky lit up “like a Christmas tree” (so to speak). Awe at the transformative glory of what God can do in our lives is the focus this week. Glories are streaming every day if we only have eyes to see. How would our lives be renewed is we saw the world and our lives through the lens of wonder?

So … what’s JOY got to do with it? What Good News am I missing. what don’t I see all around me that is worthy of joy, because I’m distracted, I’m jumpy–with fear? This story is one of transformation from Fear to Joy, from panic to praise. The “Glory” (remember, Glory is “code” for Light) streams upon us. God’s goodness, presence, and strength are around us and IN us. To use a cultural reference that has made a re-appearance in the movies recently, “A Star is Born” every time we let ourselves embrace JOY (even and especially in the midst of everything not being perfect yet), we let that star shine its light from within us out to our world. I invite you to “Be a Star” and let you JOY spill out, streaming all over the place.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the debut of “Silent Night, Holy Night.” This hymn has become the best-loved worship moment of many Christians–even those who only come to church once a year. Something mystical occurs as we light our candles and sing the hope of “all is calm, all is bright”–peace and light for the world. Our Advent worship series, for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, celebrates the carol’s message over the entire season of Advent and highlights its call for our lives that can guide us all year long.

Silent Night is perfect for our theme this Christmas. Our communities, churches, and world are torn and divided about many issues of cultural contention. Families fight, politicians argue, hate-mongering and widespread ignorance fuel the internet and social media. Sometimes we feel that hope, peace, love, and light are missing from the world today! Perhaps this Christmas could be a ceasefire from our own sources of conflict?