2018 Advent at Cornerstone!
Greetings Cornerstone Church!
We are excited to participate in Advent this year as a church, and we pray it renews your spirit and reenergizes your faith.
Advent is a tradition that the church has observed for hundreds of years. A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. In the Old Testament we see Jewish culture observing traditions to remember what God has done for Israel and to pass down His acts to younger generations. Advent 2018 is an opportunity for us as individuals, families, and churches to rejoice and contemplate together the two advents of Christ—one already, and the other not yet.
Advent is way for us to redeem Christmas and presents a wonderful teaching opportunity for Christians of all ages. As families we observe Advent because it provides the ability to teach our children the majestic wonders of God’s love. As new believers we can learn the rich heritage of Old Testament prophesy and see God’s promises fulfilled. And finally, as mature Christians, it allows us to break down the familiarity of Christmas and to rejoice in the promise that He is coming again.
Starting on December 2nd Cornerstone Church will celebrate Advent by taking five minutes in each service for the following four weeks to reflect how we celebrate the promise of the Word becoming flesh and looking forward to His return. During that time, a member will explain the current theme of the week, and how Cornerstone will have a moment of waiting silently before the lighting of the candles. In today’s world a minute of silence is very unnerving. We are not a people that are typically quiet and still. The purpose of this silence is to acknowledge that the waiting for Christ’s return is difficult and uncomfortable because we are still struggling with sin and suffering in our lives. After the moment of silence, we will sing a worship song while children of the congregation light the candles and read scripture. To close the Advent part of the service, as a congregation we will read an ending prayer.
To help you celebrate at home, Cornerstone is providing every family a copy of Paul David Tripp’s book Come Let Us Adore Him. According to his website Paul Tripp describes the book as a method to “recapture our attention and reawaken our awe during Christmastime. Each of the thirty-one devotions includes a Scripture reading and notes for parents and children, equipping us to do the one thing that matters most each December — celebrate Jesus.” If you haven’t received a book, please see an Elder, and they will gladly provide you with one.
During this time, we are encouraging all attenders to participate in fasting/abstaining and prayer throughout Advent. The purpose of fasting is to have a physical representation of our spiritual yearning. Better put by John Piper, “The heart of it is longing. We are putting our stomach where our heart is to give added intensity and expressiveness to our ache for Jesus. We fast to express our longing or our ache for all the implications of Jesus’s power in the present moment that isn’t completely realized. We want to see people healed. We want to see people saved. We want to see marriages redeemed. We ache, and we long for this to happen; therefore, we ask Jesus to come by putting this exclamation point of longing at the end of our desires.”
Please consider the following advice before fasting:
- Consult your physician to see if you are healthy enough to fast.
- Start small if you have never fasted before.
- Without a purpose and plan, it’s not Christian fasting; it’s just going hungry. You need to have a specific spiritual purpose, and how you will spend the time in reading the word and prayer.
- Fasting is to be private. Matthew 6:18 tells us “that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you”
- If you can’t fast, try abstaining from something other than food that would bend your heart toward greater enjoyment of Jesus
For more information on fasting, I encourage you to visit the following sites:
Merry Christmas and we are looking forward to seeing how God will work in us during Advent 2018!