Advent reminds us that the best things in life are not the trinkets, toys, thrills, and temptations of this world that come from the outside in an attempt to give us a temporary thrill or some short-term pleasure. Life is about the gifts that God provides that work from the inside out and sustain us even when everything is not going our way. The themes of Advent point us to those gifts of hope, love, peace, and joy.
This year, I find it more difficult to offer predictions for the new year than I did two years ago, in the throes of the pandemic. However, here are church trends to watch—and reasons for hope—as we head into 2023.
When pastors retire from full-time paid ministries, they often feel lost or unanchored. But for me, my daily walk has become a ministry, where I have formed a community that can be called “Sausalito Morning Church.”
Do I have to come up with something memorable, novel, and cutting-edge for my last Christmas sermon before I retire?
Rather than being passively obedient or overpowered, Mary was a person of agency who was willing to violate the rules.
Inviting Jesus to come and enter into our lives means embracing the unfamiliar, challenging the powerful, opening our circle of inclusion wider, sharing the gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Welcoming Jesus gives joy, peace, and hope; it also requires courage and sacrifice and, sometimes, brings heartbreak.