As we enter into the season of Advent this Sunday, Pastor Oliver shares what Advent means and how we can prepare for this season.
We know that the Christmas season is upon us in Singapore when the shopping malls start playing Christmas songs. My favourite classic Christmas Carol is "Joy to the World", written initially by Isaac Watts. When I hear this carol, it evokes fond Christmas memories. The theme of joy stands out in the lyrics. Beginning this Sunday 1 December, Grace Baptist Church will be observing this advent season with five messages from the Gospel of Luke covering chapters 1-2. The theme of joy is also most noticeable throughout these two chapters.
Luke 1-2 almost reads like a musical. The principal characters in the narrative break out into songs four times in these chapters. Mary praises God in Luke 1:46-55. Zechariah sings and blesses God in Luke 1:68-79. The angelic chorus raises their voices in Luke 2:14. And finally, Simeon gives thanks to God in Luke 2:29-32. Running through these songs is the theme of joy: God is keeping His promises and bringing salvation to His people through His son Jesus Christ. The promised Messiah was divinely conceived and born as a human baby. The long wait for rescue is over. God's promised deliverer king has come! This calls forth joy among God's people.
This is why churches celebrate this season of Advent. Advent means coming or arrival – it points to the arrival of someone notable. For the church, Advent is a season we remember that King Jesus Christ has come and will be coming back again. And this remembrance brings forth resounding joy among us as His church.
In preparation for this season, I encourage us to read through Luke 1-2 in your Bibles two-three times, slowly and reflectively, letting gospel joy marinate your souls. Let the theme of joy soak your hearts and spark joy. You can also watch this video by the Bible Project. It shows us the key ideas surrounding the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 1-2.
Finally, you can read this article by Matt Boswell. The author tells us that this joy we have is a joy that looks back on the incarnation and one that also looks forward to the second coming of Christ.
May resounding joy be your theme this coming December!
WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH:
GOD AT WORK | SAT 7 DEC | 4.00 PM - 6.00 PM | ROOMS 516-519
As Singaporeans, we spend so much of our lives working and striving. But as Christians, how should we be thinking about success and failure at work? What does it mean to be a Christian at work? What is a Christian's perspective on ambition? How is God working as we work? Join us on Saturday, 7 Dec 2019, from 4-6pm in GBC (Rooms 516-519) as we have a panel discussion with fellow GBC members to talk about these questions. Do RSVP at https://tinyurl.com/gbcyawork, or contact Ern at 98785110 to find out more.
CHRISTMAS CHOIR 2019
A warm invitation to regular worshipers of GBC to join the Christmas Choir 2019. Practices will be on Sundays 8/12, and 22/12 from 11:00am-2:30pm in Rooms 516-519. The evangelistic Christmas service is on 25/12. Let us sing "Glory to God in the Highest" and worship Christ the King! Please contact Esther, Carrie or Elder Lup Meng if you have any questions.
ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS LUNCH | DEC 2019
At Advent, the church looks at the coming of Jesus. During December, you're encouraged to invite your non-Christian friends to church to hear six talks about Jesus Christ from the gospel of Luke. An e-poster invite is available at gracebaptistchurch.sg for you to share with your friends on social media.
On Christmas Day 25/12, we'll have an unique opportunity to host Christmas lunch for each other, guests and visitors in our homes after service. GBC members are encouraged to practise hospitality by preparing a simple meal and sharing the love of Christ with our church guests. You can volunteer to host by signing up at this link so the church can help you coordinate, as God so leads you to host.
For those with us willing to join as guests at lunch with a GBC family host, please sign up at this link. International friends and members, bereaved, and anyone willing to share in Christmas lunch are all welcome. Our privilege, guests and hosts alike, is to celebrate Jesus' birth together.