The Advent and Christmas seasons are quickly approaching, and this year we will be focusing our worship services around the theme “Do You Sense What I Sense?” This is a play on the familiar song, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, and while the lyrics to that song ask about hearing and seeing the signs of Christ’s coming, starting on December 2nd, our worship services will explore how we can pay attention to “God with us” with all of our senses.
Advent is a time of preparation, expectation, and watchfulness as we await the coming of God in the birth of Jesus. Like John the Baptizer in the wilderness, we “prepare the way of the Lord” by slowing down and paying attention to the signs that announce God’s presence. Every year we are reminded during Advent that the time of waiting can be just as holy as the time of celebration if our waiting helps attune us to the ways God is already with us.
Advent and Christmas are seasons that are full of beautiful sights, enticing smells, tantalizing tastes, angelic sounds, and feelings of warmth, comfort, and hope. Each week during Advent and Christmas we will focus our worship services on one of the senses and explore how the familiar scripture passages call us to use our senses to cultivate an awareness of the Divine.
Each week our services will also include an interactive element that will engage the various senses, which brings me to my reasons for writing this so early and making you think about Christmas even though Halloween is barely behind us. I will be preaching on December 9 when we will be focusing on “sight”. One of the scripture passages for that service includes the line, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6), so to add a visual element to this service, I would like everyone to submit photos in response to the question, “Where do I see God in the world around me?”
Photos can be sent to me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or texted to my cell phone (which can be found in the church directory). Almost all of us have cameras in our pockets, so my hope is to get submissions from as many different people as possible. If you have children in your household, this could also make for a great activity to get them thinking about the ways God is present with us everyday. I will be accepting photos through December 2 and probably finding many different ways to bug you about it between now and then.
Thanks in advance, and in the busyness of the advancing season, I hope we all find ways to slow down, breathe deeply, and use all of our sense to know that God is with us.