The beginning of Advent is just over a month away.  The season of Advent is a time of preparation. We remember the longing for the Messiah the Jews had so very long ago and our very own longing and need for forgiveness, salvation, and a new beginning.  It is a time to prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of the birth of Jesus and the anticipation of Christ’s second coming. Advent and Christmas are one of the most celebrated times in the life of the church. 

Besides weekly worship, how are you preparing your heart, mind, and church for Advent and the new year?  How are you preparing and anticipating encountering something new and meaningful in this season?  Not only must we be alert and watchful, but we must also be intentional in finding and noticing something new and meaningful during this Advent season.  Otherwise, as often happens in this fast-paced world, we might once again rush through this season full of busy-ness and miss all God has for us to notice and discover.  With that intention of the season, you are invited into two unique opportunities of preparing for something new and meaningful.

First, we invite you to consider gathering a small group and use Voices of Christmas to journey through this Advent season.  This unique resource allows us to hear the voices of John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, and the Wisemen reflect on the miracle of the birth of Jesus through the lens of hope, love, peace, and joy.  Through daily devotions and weekly reflections and questions for individuals and small groups, this resource offers a deeper insight into one of the four elements of H.O.P.E. – Healing, Opportunities (to give and receive love), Peace, and Experiences (of joy).  On day one each week you’ll be introduced to the theme and scripture.  Days two through six will offer a dive into the theme through the voices of the six characters.  Day seven is a time of reflection.  We invite you to slow down and explore the voices and experiences of these six characters during this Advent season that will lead you into creating your own new and meaningful plan of H.O.P.E. moving into the new year.

Second, we invite you to consider exploring a new and meaningful ministry for your church in the new year.  Were you aware of the economic impact the U.S. is experiencing due to the childcare crisis?  The lack of adequate childcare for infants and toddlers is estimated to cost the U.S. $122 billion annually in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue according to ReadyNation.  In addition, Christian parents are struggling to find the support and resources they need and desire to help in forming their children’s faith.  As the church struggles to reach and connect with this very baby-bearing generation, there is an opportunity to step up to meet a dire need they have for childcare and faith formation for their children while also creating a positive impact for the church.  However, we must rethink the models the church once used for preschools and childcare centers that simply no longer work.  Join us for this important topic and webinar, Re-Thinking Childcares & Preschools as Christian Social Entrepreneurships with Integration Pathways, on November 1st to prepare your church for something new and meaningful.

Take the intentional steps this Advent season to prepare, celebrate, and usher in something new and meaningful.

You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life.

    As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending,

    and I know true joy and contentment.

Psalm 16:11 VOICE