"This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about..." is how the Apostle Matthew begins the story of our Savior's birth. Pastor Steve focused on Matthew 1: 18-25 for the Fourth Advent Sunday Sermon and noted that the humble beginnings of our Savior Jesus Christ is God's statement that there is no place he won't go. Pastor Steve explained to the congregation that Matthew's account of the days leading up to Christ's birth are God's assurance that there is no place too common, no distance too far, no person out of reach, and no limit to His love.
On the occasion of Third Advent, celebrated at the December 11 service, Guest Speaker Jim Snodgrass referred to many Biblical verses in the Old Testament that foretold the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. From Genesis to Jeremiah to Isaiah, Micah and Hosea, scripture prophecied the birth of Jesus. This message also delves into the customs of Jewish weddings and gives fresh insight to the wedding of Joseph and his virgin bride Mary, as well as the roles that the rulers of the day played in the historical context of events surrounding our Savior's miraculous birth and survival into young adulthood.
On the occasion of December 4, the Second Advent Service, guest speaker Jim Snodgrass spoke about the fact that there are very few animated Christmas specials for children and adults that focus on the Biblical message of our Savior's birth. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" TV special, that aired in 1965 and for years after, is one of the few animated stories that relates "the true meaning of Christmas" and quotes scripture. Sadly, in searching for this little Christmas movie (created by Charles M. Schulz and friends) on popular streaming and sattelite services, it was nowhere to be found this year. This Sunday service message brings back many old memories dating from the late 50's and 60's and Christmases past. The end of this message refers to the 2017 movie "The Star" as being one of the few film productions we can watch with our children and grandchildren to pass on the "real meaning of Christmas" that Charlie Brown sought in 1965.
Pastor Steve opened the First Advent Service with a beautiful prayer. The sermon focus was Matthew 26: 36-44. The message aligned with the lighting of the Hope candle: the hopeful expectation felt in anticipation of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.