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Responsive Reading:

Today we enter Advent, a season of possibilities, a time of "not yet." But daily lives reflect human struggles. Sometimes we are surrounded by brokenness--in our lives, among our friends and families, in our worldwide family. Hope seems a far-off vision; yet we yearn for it to fill us. We cry together.

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
When hope is lost,
Restore us, o God.
When people are hurting,
Restore us, O God.
When nations are fighting,
Restore us, O God.
When children are hungry,
Restore us, O God.

Restore us, God of Life. Bring us closer to hope, the hope that lights the way on the journey to Bethlehem. During this season of waiting may we be open to signs of your restoring love. As we light this first Advent Candle, let us pray for God's restoration in the midst of brokenness and despair.

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. Amen.

 

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Sermon Excerpt

The Advent of the Lord
Luke 21:25-36
by Sue in Cuba, KS

Advent is a  funny, church kind of word. Why don't we just say coming or arrival? Advent, to come to, to arrive. So who are we waiting for? The Webster's dictionary says that we are waiting for Jesus Christ. Friends, Jesus comes everyday into the lives of people.

Jeannie, a prisoner, excuse me, a resident at a state prison, failed to return after her furlough home. When the authorities caught up with her, they sent her straight to the prison. The prison officials put in disciplinary cell block. Jeannie sat on the bed, feeling very sorry for herself, when the voice of the Lord said, "Gloria Jean, stand and praise me, for if I had not brought you here, you would surely be dead." "Jeannie, what did you do?" "I'm no dummy, I stood up and praised the Lord."

The Advent of the Lord. All of the Scriptures reminds us that the Lord is present. Zephaniah tells us, "The LORD your God is with you, God is mighty to save." Isaiah tells us, "Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you." Paul tells us that the Lord is near. The love that is shared in this group makes it obvious that each person has experienced the Advent of the Lord. Aunt Marie tells us that when she worries she starts to pray, finally, the love of God comes like a warm blanket and she feels as light as a feather.

Only the reading about John the Baptist gives us pause, John presents a picture of an angry God. Angry with people who cheat and leave others unsatisfied. Angry with people who are selfish and covetous. Angry with people who look only for the good life but do not seek a godly life. John's anger burns hot as he calls the people to repent, to change. Even as loving parents warn their children about the dangers in the world, John warns us to stop chasing after all the things of life. How rich are we if our life is not full of love? ....Subscribers: click here for the full manuscript
 

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