It really is starting to feel like Christmas. On Sunday morning we gathered together to celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. The beautifully decorated sanctuary was the backdrop as Sheila lit the first candle on the Advent Wreath, reminding us that Jesus is the light of the world. We dusted off Christmas songs we haven’t sung for a year. How great it was to join our voices in "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Joy to the World"!
To make the day even better, after Church, Brian and I went to the airport to pick up Emily. She had been travelling from Ghana for close to 30 hours but her exhaustion did not deter her from helping decorate the Christmas tree later that evening.
I must admit I love going through the ornament boxes and pulling out treasures that I had forgotten about during the year. This year, however, as I was digging through one of the Christmas boxes, I came across something that I hadn’t seen before. What I found in the bottom of the box was a dove. Not a real one of course (that would be gross), but one that looked remarkably real, complete with soft white feathers and a lifelike beak. The thing is, I don’t remember ever buying such a thing and I certainly don’t remember receiving it as a gift. I was about to toss the bird into the reject box when suddenly I thought about the significance of a dove, especially at this time of year.
The dove represents a messenger. In fact the Bible is full of messengers. There were prophets in the Old Testament that were messengers. There were angels that were messengers. And the few times that “doves” are mentioned in scripture, they too are messengers. Remember Noah’s ark – when the dove came back with the message that land was nearby?
And when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit in the form of dove was seen to come to Him with a message from God.
The dove also represents peace and love.
I am not sure where this dove I found came from, but I am convinced that I found it for a reason. It was, I think, a reminder in the midst of the craziness of the season that the purpose of Christmas was God sending a powerful message of God’s forgiveness, in the form of a tiny baby. Jesus is the expression of God’s love and God’s peace for each of us.
As we move through this festive month, I pray that you will find quiet times in the midst of the busyness to reflect and remember the Gift that has been given to you.
Join us this Sunday as we continue our series entitled We Have Come to Worship.
There are surprises in store, so please come, you won’t want to miss it. And please ... Bring a friend!!