In celebration of Advent, I invited a handful of friends to share their talents with The Devotional Guy™ audience. I am grateful for their unique perspectives and insights and for their willingness to share their Advent experiences with you.
One of the people I invited is my Christian brother from across the pond, Andy Berry. I hope you enjoy his offering.
Did you know that the Church of England (the head of the global Anglican movement) has different colours of cloths to adorn their church buildings for the different seasons?
Isn’t it amazing what you don’t know, that you didn’t know you didn’t know, until you did? Advent is the time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Advent is also the time when, annually, church attendance in the west tends to go up sharply as families attend our churches for Christmas carols, nativity plays, mince pies (are they just a British thing?), Christingle Oranges (more on this below) and Midnight Mass (communion after midnight on Christmas morning).
When I led my first Christingle service (created in the 18thcentury by a German priest as a Gospel-based Object Lesson) I genuinely had to google what a Christingle was. I’d never been to one before! I went on to lead a team of around 50 people serving around 800 people.
800 people duly turned up. They left the building an hour later, buzzing with Christmas joy, and chocolate.
They came for a comforting, and traditional service, and that is exactly what they got! Because we sang familiar carols – by candle light – with a brass band and Church Organ.
We lit our 500 Christingle Candles (the logistics of which are really something to behold!) and no fire extinguishers were needed on the night (a bonus).
All of this was in a building designed as a scaled down Winchester Cathedral. You have to stand inside a building like that to get a true perspective on it’s gigantic size and dimensions! It’s awe inspiring. Add candles and carols and you have the idyllic setting for a Christingle Service.
In addition, I also spoke about Jesus dying on a wooden cross. I spoke of heaven and hell. I spoke of the facts of the miraculous birth of Jesus: everybody in that room left knowing that Jesus was born miraculously to a virgin, lived and grew up and walked on the earth, and eventually went on to die as an innocent man. It may not have been what they were expecting to hear. But, it is the truth.
A film of a British band – Spinal Tap – was the story of a band by the same name. And they wanted their amplifiers to have the ability to be turned up to ‘11’, so they could be louder than every other band. Forget the failed logic – I love that mindset!
Now, I am reliably informed that the birth of Jesus fulfilled 365 Old Testament prophecies. And a mathematician worked out the odds of just 48 of those prophecies coming true as “1 in 10,157”.
Another way of saying that would be this:
1 in 1[followed by 155 zeros]00 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 , 000 .
In this advent period, let us remember the birth of Jesus Christ. It must be the single greatest physical miracle ever,and it’s so very worth celebrating, with all we have, and turning our joy up to 11.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, please try and set your heart on the future, knowing that Jesus is coming back.
14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)
May your soul rise up to meet the Lord, our Creator as the day rises to meet the sun.
The Devotional Guy™