God does an unexpected thing – God sends a son into this world to show the world the joy, peace, hope, and love that God has for the world. In this story, we find the unexpected treasures of grace, connection with God, and light for our journeys in this world. Jesus comes as the long-expected savior, but he comes not as a king, but a humble one from a small town, a place where the forgotten gather, the margins of a world where the powerful will be upended and the lowly will find their recompense. In a time of transition for San Jose First UMC, what about this journey into this world provides guidance for our future? What hope/peace/joy/love/light is God birthing among us today?
December 2: First Sunday of Advent
Into This World: Hope in a Time of Despair
Matthew 24:36-44, Isaiah 2:1-15
God’s people are asked to hope when all the reality says that things can’t change, that things won’t change. God calls to us to live differently, to live as agents of hope against powers that say that the things are the way that they are.
December 9: Second Sunday of Advent / Bilingual Worship
Into This World: Peace in a Time of Unrest
Isaiah 11:1-10, Matthew 3:2-12
We will look at what it means to have shalom – that’s the Hebrew word that we translate as “peace.” It’s much more than a concept of living without war. A shalom community offers up an alternative vision to what the world offers– a place and rule of equity and concern for all people. This is a vision that is worth working for – a way of living that is deep and connected.
December 16: Third Sunday of Advent
Into This World: Joy in the Face of Cynicism
Luke 1:45b-55, Isaiah 35:1-10
In a time when those at the bottom seem to be in for more shaming by those who have too much wealth and power, the Word of God coming to look at, no, not just look at, but be with the lowly with favor is all the more important. What might the world look like if when we are low ourselves that we remind ourselves how beloved we are? And that we do it for our friends that are low as well?
December 23: Fourth Sunday of Advent
Into This World: Love in a Time of Apathy
Matthew 1:18-25, Isaiah 7:10-16
God does an amazing thing – God decides to come down to be with us in a humble, loving way. When hard times hit, we need to experience the love of God and avoid the dangers of becoming apathetic, without passion.
December 24: Christmas Eve at 8:00pm
Into This World: Light in a Time of Darkness
Luke 2:1-14, John 1:1-5
Special music, carols, juBELLation choir, and candles. At this service we will be looking at how we are called to be the messengers of light. What might God be doing in us and with us to share light with those around us? Or it might be a season where we need others to help us see the light of God – how might we surround ourselves with those fellow journeyers who can walk with us in grace?