Providence Church Blog A gospel-centered church in Austin, Tx

Archive for the ‘advent’ Category

Newtown and Advent

On Monday morning, I left the house early. The last person I said goodbye to on my way out the door was Sophie, my 6-year-old. I had to get down on one knee to look her in the eye and take in her wide smile (which is missing a few teeth). She’s a cutie. So eager to love and hug. So excited to take on the day, whatever day it is. So little. So fragile. As I hugged her, I was overcome with the thought that only 3 days before, a man walked into an elementary school and murdered 20 Sophies. What did he see on their faces as he burst into their classroom? How many of them were smiling just seconds before … probably with the precious teeth-missing smile only true of a 6-year-old?


The Joy of Waiting

What is the joy of waiting? We have all experienced how waiting and anticipation heightens the joy of consummation. The first example that comes to mind is the birth of a child. If babies came right after conception, the new life might bring more shock and fear than joy in the moment. Perhaps God’s gift to us is time — time to tell everyone our good news, time to paint a room and buy things, time to prepare ourselves for this new life. Instantaneous birth would rob us of the joy of waiting, but with nine months to prepare and imagine, the birthday comes as a glorious celebration!


Carrying the Cross of Peace

As the Roman soldiers led Jesus to his crucifixion, he became too weary to carry his cross, so “they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross” (Matthew 27:32). The way the story reads, Simon of Cyrene was inconsequential, a mere bystander, a wrong-place-wrong-time casualty. I imagine that he was simply going about his business as usual – doing the day’s tasks, thinking of things that interest him, and talking to friends – when he stopped to see what all the commotion was about. And that, of course, is how he got dragged into the mess.


Advent and Church Planting

In Advent, we look back on the Word made flesh, the incarnation of Jesus. There are good, sentimental aspects to this season, but when we look at it through the lens of mission, we remember why Jesus came: To seek and save the lost, to reconcile people to God, to renew culture and bless the nations. And then He commissioned His disciples to continue the work, to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, primarily by planting new churches. This is our task until He comes again. We don’t normally think of church planting and Advent in the same category, but perhaps we should.


Advent Poem

Come, Lord Jesus Come.
Come when you will.
We await your return.


Getting Ready for Advent

Depending on your background, you may or may not have observed Advent before. I had never given it a thought until a few years ago. I entered into it experimentally … to see if it would really affect my mindset leading up to Christmas, or if it would  just be a religious ritual. It could be either, I suppose, depending on how you approach it.