In the sweltering of July, my mother finds her candles on sale at Hobby Lobby. She is always excited to find three purple and one pink. She can’t wait to call me and ask if I want her to purchase some for me as well. She is thoughtful and generous.
Why is she so happy about unusual colored candles? Because she uses them for her Advent Wreath in December. There is something touching and beautiful about her excitement as she considers celebrating the shocking miracle of the day that Christ came in the flesh to redeem His people.
I love this tradition too, although I never remember the reasons for the different colors. On the four Sundays that precede Christmas, Gabriel, myself, my mother and my father gather in a circle. My mother lights the candle, and then each candle progressively as the weeks continue. The first one will be a stump by the time Christmas arrives.
My father has a book of Scripture and prayer that we take turns reading. We start with the centuries old call of Isaiah and lead into the unbelievable fulfillment of them. No one could have written this story – it’s so perfect and so unimaginable. It is a time to ponder and marvel in anticipation.
We are reminded of our black, our shadows, our red-guilt. We are reminded of His purity, His Light, His red-blood that has cancelled our debt. We wonder, “What was it like for Mary? For Joseph? What about the shepherds?” We read of their fear, their confusion, and their obedience. We discuss the ramifications of their courage and faith.
Sometimes, I weep in our little circle. Quietly, and I don’t think they see it. But to watch my Dad, my Mom, and my son all together in prayer in worship is overwhelming.
It is a gift that I can’t fully express – I know our histories, our struggles, and how God has rescued us and reconciled us. First to Him, and now to each other. Our family has been rocked by death, by disease, by pain and hurt, and yet God’s mercy has enveloped us. It is good to gather and worship together. So good.
Maybe this is why my mother gets so excited in July when she finds those candles?
E-List SignUp Form
MCC Elders and Connectors are hosting a Starting Point Lunch on January 13th after 2nd service. The luncheon is a great way to learn more about MCC, ask questions and meet new people! We encourage anyone who is considering making MCC their church home to attend and get connected! Contact Elizabeth to RSVP today.
For any ladies interested in prophetic literature or wanting to begin a Bible Study in the New Year, MCC is starting a new Bible Study in January! What is the heart behind the roar of the Lion from Zion? In this 16-week study through the book of Amos, beginning January 7th and meeting Monday mornings at 10 a.m., you will learn about a loving God who prepares His people to live forever. We hope you will consider joining us for this fantastic study! Child care is provided. Please contact Elizabeth Allan to learn more.
If you have ever felt like you don't fit in, that you aren't good enough, that everyone else has it together while you struggle to even show up, then we invite you to join us. We want you to learn that we have a God who lifts the pain of worthlessness and rejection! Starting Thursday, January 17th, Sara Ghormley and Elizabeth Allan will lead discussions as we prayerfully work through Ed Welch's book, "Shame Interrupted". We begin at 6:30 and end at 8, and will meet for 16 weeks. Cost is $16 per person, but scholarships are available. Please contact Elizabeth and let her know so she can order a book for you.
Would you like to learn how to respond to conflict Biblically? Pastor Frank Malizzo, Elizabeth Allan and Spencer Brown are hosting a Peacemaking as Evangelism Workshop at MCC on January 25th-26th. The class will highlight Biblical tools that can be used for work, in the community, in the home and as a tool for evangelism. “Conflict presents unique opportunities to serve other people, we can demonstrate the love of Christ and give witness to the gospel even to people who are attacking us.” Ken Sande. Contact Elizabeth to learn more.