Day 264 | Tuesday, 8 December 2020
I want to give you the COVID-19 update for the County. As of 4:30pm December 7, 2020 the total cases in the county have reached 2,036 with 522 in zip 14701, 393 in Dunkirk, 355 in Fredonia and 58 in Lakewood. The numbers in the country as of Monday are at nearly 15 million cases with nearly 283,000 deaths. The numbers seem to be setting new records daily.
Some radio stations began playing Christmas music early in November. By the time Christmas day actually arrives, we will have heard those familiar carols for almost two months. Then the day after Christmas, many of those stations will revert back to other music. This offends me and has for many years because of the way I follow the Christian, church year which actually begins with Advent. During the Advent Sundays, I always included Advent hymns in the service. I would get asked, “When are we going to sing Christmas Carols?” I would reply, “During the Christmastide season and on Christmas Eve.” I took some heat for this stance in every church I served. I gave in a little bit and would include a Christmas Carol on the Sunday before Christmas. Advent is about the promised coming of Jesus, not his arrival. That’s where I stand on the issue.
Given that stance, here is a very meaningful, short Advent hymn written by Charles Wesley in 1744. “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
1. “Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.”
2. “Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring. By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.”
A Prayer of Confession for the Advent Season
“Hidden deep inside us, O God, is a yearning to see your face, to feel your love, to know your acceptance. Yet we cover up this desire and think we can make it on our own. We try success and submerge our best selves in work. We try activity and pride ourselves on full calendars and busy lives.
Then along come the darkened skies of Advent, and the longing in our hearts rises to the surface. We want to be loved by God, for only God's love makes us whole, loosens us from frantic searching and grants us a peace beyond understanding.
Holy God, let us enter into the mystery of your coming and find ourselves loved and forgiven. Amen.”
“May our waiting not be in vain, O God. May we watch with vigor, listen with patience, anticipate with hope - and when the time comes that your Son is to be delivered, may gladness fill our hearts. Amen.”
“The Spirit of God is upon us and is sending us to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted and to proclaim liberty to the captives. In all that we say and do, prepare the way of the Lord!”
Advent Quotation “The coming of the Lord is the coming of the new, not the renewal of the old. Our Advent is the celebration of this hope.” -Thomas Merton