Advent 2017


 We have all experienced change and the need to adapt to it. The different seasons of life constantly bring change - from the ending of one life stage to the beginning of another. You could think of examples as easily as taking a breath: birth and death; a graduation and a new job; making new friends and cultivating longtime relationships; illness, recovery, death. Though change can be scary and difficult, especially if it is unexpected, it can also be exciting, and it can bring us to new understandings about who we are and what we're capable of doing, and truths about the world around us. Regardless of how we deal with the changes that happen to us, they are inevitable...they are a part of life itself. 

This year has certainly brought unexpected changes to First Baptist Church. We have said goodbye to beloved ministers and support staff even as we have welcomed a new Intentional Interim Pastor and appreciated the able leadership of those among us. We have experienced the deaths of family members and friends who were pillars of our congregation and dear to our lives, as well as the births of beautiful new babies who will be raised and nurtured in this family of faith. We have welcomed new people into our congregation even as others have moved away for jobs, school, or family. And, through it all, we have seen the best in this congregation as people have stepped forward to preach, teach, greet, lead, strategize, love, and support one another. 

Merriam-Webster defines the word advent as "a coming into being or use." In other words, the start of something new...a change! Of course, more specifically, the liturgical season of Advent recognizes Christ coming to the world as a human baby. Imagine, anew, the profound changes and realizations that Mary and Joseph must have felt as they learned of the birth of not only their first child, but the savior of the world! They were definitely not expecting this news. Their lives would never be the same, and neither will ours. 

This year writers were asked to reflect on the unexpected changes felt around the birth of Jesus, both by his parents and the world, as well as how changes in their own lives have affected their faith. As per usual, I have been overwhelmed by the knowledge, insight, creativity, and thoughtfulness of our congregation. Thanks to all who shared their reflections on the advent of Christ and how the "hopes and fears" experienced from change have brought them to a better understanding of God's love for us all.

-- Kyle Ballantine, editor

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