Reflecting on Advent & Christmas

Note: This guest post is by Kari Malinak. Kari serves as the Associate Pastor of Living Word Lutheran Church in Grapevine. Kari was elected to the District Council in 2020.

Happy New Year! Well, as I write this, happy new liturgical year! With Advent, the Christian Church begins a new cycle of seasons and liturgy. Advent is a special season filled with hopeful anticipation, expectation, and joy knowing the celebration of Christ’s birth is only a handful of weeks away. Advent is also a penitential season in which we reflect on the need of God entering this sinful world and our own sinful nature. In our modern world, though, we can lose the meaning in a hectic holiday season. So, writing this now, I hope we can appreciate Advent and Christmas in a calmer time.

In this Mission Moment, let’s join to reflect on Christ’s birth: Consider the King of kings, the Lord of lords, before His birth. As the second person of the Trinity, Jesus could have rightfully entered this world with pomp and circumstance, demanding glory and laud; instead, we find an infant born in humble means and placed in a feeding trough. What do the crude circumstances of Christ’s birth tell us of the nature of God and the nature of God’s kingdom? First, we witness the humble and gentle Spirit of the Lord. As Paul writes to the Philippians, Jesus “did not count equality with God a thing to be exploited, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.” Jesus did not exercise His divine right, demanding to be served and worshiped, but came to serve humanity by living perfectly, as none of us can do, to give us His own righteousness through His death and resurrection. Second, in His humble birth and life, we see that Jesus and His Kingdom are for all – there is no earthly hierarchy or preference involved in His birth and there is no earthly hierarchy or preference involved when He will come again to draw us all unto Himself.

In this new year, reflect on Jesus’ humble birth, asking yourself:

  • Why does it matter (if it matters, at all) that the God who created all the world entered humanity without pomp and circumstance or luxury?
  • Why did God choose this particular setting and scene for Jesus to enter the world, and what does this tell us about the nature of the kingdom of God?

Advent opens for us, not only the new liturgical year, but the opportunity to share with others the extent of God’s love. Let’s pray…

Lord, we lift praise and thanks to You for entering humanity so long ago. We give You all glory for showing us Your own gentle Spirit and for counting us worthy to receive Your forgiveness, though we cannot and have not earned it. Bless us these Advent and Christmas seasons, giving us the courage to share You with others, telling of Your humble birth that those around us may know You as their eternal loving and saving Lord. We ask this in the precious name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for LCMC Texas District and Program Director of Harvest Workers, an online ministry training program (learn more at Residing in Georgetown, Pastor Bryce is available to coach congregations on mission. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments: 512-942-7776 ext. 2 or