By Nathan Esser
As we begin the season of Advent, I want to be sure that you know about the opportunities available to you through the church. There are special opportunities on Wednesday evenings, Sunday mornings and also following Christmas. Take time and explore the Newsletter and Worship Bulletins for these opportunities.
One that I’d like to highlight is the Advent Devotional. The devotions are available for pickup following worship on December 2nd and they will continue to be available for pickup in the Sanctuary on Sundays or in the Church Office during the week. There is no charge – they are a gift for you to enjoy.
Tarrah Olson and her family attend the Advent Workshop at First Presbyterian Church in Sioux Falls, and she knows this event is one “my children look the most forward to experiencing at church.”
Throughout this season, we will need to encourage each other and hold each other accountable. If you see me in church or in town, quiz me on the devotional reading for the day. Hold me accountable and allow me the chance to hold you accountable and encourage you in your own reading. Also, share your reactions on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Share and post what stands out to you as meaningful and significant.
If you have questions about the devotional or any of our Advent opportunities, please let us know. Also, if you would like support and prayer throughout this season, don’t hesitate to contact me. I am looking forward to sharing this Advent journey with you.
Nathan is the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Sioux Falls. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year's devotional is entitled "Arrival" and invites you to creatively explore the narrative and theology of the Christmas story. The author, Rev. Emily Hines (a pastor serving Brookhaven Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana), provides readers of all ages to reflect upon themes of hope, peace, joy, love and light by engaging the senses through activities such as building with Legos, sculpting with clay, and drawing. Readers are also encouraged to share the readings with friends and family and explore them together.
The readings also incorporate several spiritual disciplines as a way to engage the scripture and enhance your focus on Jesus. For example, one of the spiritual discipline challenges invites readers to "fast" from using tablets or smartphones for a portion of a particular day. This would be a challenging spiritual discipline to implement in my house; however, it would provide us more opportunity to spend quality time together as a family thinking about Jesus’ birth.
There is also a calendar that accompanies the devotional. You might choose to use the calendar along with the devotional or by itself. There might be days that are so filled with work and other responsibilities that you don’t have time to fully engage the devotional readings. The calendar provides a verse and a short thought for your day. The calendar is something you might post on the door leading to your garage or hang near your night stand so that you carry that thought, reading or question with you for the duration of your day.
Believe me, I know how busy this time of year can be for many of us. One of the few areas of our lives where it seems easiest to pull from is the commitment and time that we set aside for our faith and church. However, if we are intentional to seek Jesus throughout this season, we will discover a new dimension to our lives and faith – and all the more as we share in this commitment together!