(Traditions vary and I'm not too worried about getting the weeks 'exactly right' - it's the heart at worship that counts, I believe).
Anyway, today marks the beginning of the new year for Christian worship, the first Sunday of Advent.
My goal is to follow the liturgical calendar as much as possible this coming year, reading from the Book of Common Prayer and other resources.
Each day and each week, there are themes to contemplate and scriptures to read. I think it's going to be a wonderful adventure. Seasonal pun intended.
Today as a church, we focused on hope. As believers, we hold that true hope was made manifest - revealed for the first time in tangible form - at the manger in Bethlehem.
Was it because they knew what an unblemished lamb truly looked like? Did God, in his grace and mercy, give them, some of the lowliest people in society, the opportunity to see the real, eternal unblemished Lamb who would redeem the world and make everything right?
This Advent season, God has revealed to us this same Lamb. (Which the prophet John, who was the forerunner to the Messiah, recognized!)
As we anticipate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, let us recognize that he is our Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The hope of all people. God bless you this season.