Dear Grace Community,
Grace and Peace!
I always look forward to Advent! Year after year it seems to come just at the right time. Just when I need to be reminded of God’s larger future, of the day when all things will be made well. Just when my own sin and the sin of the world is most evident, the church groans for Emmanuel to come.
In the church this has been traditionally a time for reflection on our need for salvation and the hopeful expectation of Jesus’ return into history to make all things new. It is a season of preparation for the Christmas Day and Christmas season, where for 12 Days we celebrate God’s coming in the form of Jesus.
This is my first Advent season with you. It is always a time that we all long for the familiar, for tradition, and for what we know are our rythms of life together. Please be patient with me as I continue learning your way of life and trying to live it out as genuinely as possible through my own soul.
In spite of all the new-ness I know that we share a passion to tell the gospel story. So we will tell it, boldly, passionately, and consistently.
It is my prayer that you will take time each day this season to reflect on the ways that we often do not shine the light of Christ in our lives. Observe the ways that the world does not reflect God’s intention of peace and justice. Pay attention to the small ways that God is showing up in your life and in the lives of others. Most of all, do not be afraid of pointing out what where you see God!
I look forward to our weekends of worship this season. We’ll sing the songs of praise, hear words from the prophet Isaiah and Mary the mother of Jesus, and we’ll count down to the celebration of God’s breaking into history in Jesus.
There are many this season that seem without hope. Pay attention and invite them to join you in worship, prayer, and noticing.
I am thankful and honored to be your pastor. I look forward to our journey together as we repent, confess, and proclaim.
Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved. Psalm 80:3 (NRSV)
Peace & Love, Juan+