Advent Devotional - Throughout the Advent season, we will be hearing the voices of those who prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ. Our Advent worship services will focus heavily on prophetic voices from the book of Isaiah, but the last Sunday in Advent will bring forth the voice of Mary, mother of God. As Protestant Christians, we do not have as strong an appreciation for the person of Mary as do our Catholic and Orthodox brothers and sisters. In Eastern traditions Mary is called the Theotokos, Greek for “God bearer” or “one who gives birth to God.” This name encourages Christians to consider the radical Christmas claim that God has come to live among us. Surely no one was as astounded by this than Mary, the one who prepared mentally, spiritually, and bodily for the coming of Christ. This season, you are invited to meditate on Mary’s experience as you seek a deeper understanding of what it means to prepare for the arrival of our Lord.
Please consider purchasing a copy of Singing Mary’s Song: An Advent Message of Hope and Deliverance by John A. Stroman. This Advent devotional provides daily readings for the four weeks of Advent. The readings are united by their focus on Mary’s Magnificat, the song of joy that Mary sings when she visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. These short readings are an excellent way to prepare your heart and mind for the Christmas season. The book also has a four-week discussion guide in the back if you would like to form a small discussion group or read it together in an existing group.
Books may be obtained in Reed Hall beginning Sunday, November 26. Books cost $10 and may be purchased with cash or check. Supplies may be limited. To guarantee that you receive a copy, preorder a book online at westendumc.org/maryssong and pick it up in Reed Hall.
Advent Study Available for Sunday Morning Classes - Sunday morning classes are invited to use Advent Through the Eyes of Those Who Waited, special curriculum from The Thoughtful Christian. This series of four lessons coincides with our theme of prophetic voices that prepare the way for Jesus Christ. Written specifically for this liturgical year, these lessons focus on the prophets of the Old Testament, John the Baptist, and Mary, mother of Jesus. The lessons can be adapted easily for the needs and format of each class. If your class would like to use this study, please contact Brandon Baxter at firstname.lastname@example.org. All materials are downloadable.
The Meaning is in the Waiting - An Advent Book Study with Pastor Brandon - Join Pastor Brandon for a weekly, daytime book study during the four weeks of Advent. If you are unable to attend our regular daytime Bible studies, consider joining one of these short-term studies. We will read Paula Gooder’s The Meaning is in the Waiting: The Spirit of Advent. Gooder invites us to notice the goodness that can be found in the act of waiting and being present in the moment. Her reflections find inspiration in the biblical stories of Abraham and Sarah, the Prophets, John the Baptist, and Mary, mother of Jesus.
The study will be offered on two different days. A group will meet on Mondays at Noon beginning on November 27 in room 306. Persons in the Monday group are invited to bring a sack lunch to enjoy during our discussions. A morning group will meet on Friday’s beginning on December 1 at 9:30 AM in Bishop’s Parlor. A registration fee of $10 covers the cost of the book. Please register online by November 26 at westendumc.org/advent study