Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church
Worship Focus for December 15
Rev. Dr. Jim Bennett, preaching
Greetings!

This week we passed the halfway point of Advent. How are you doing? Are you finding moments of joy and things that you can take delight in? Or maybe the season feels overwhelming with its busyness or loneliness that can leave us feeling like we are trapped in a parched desert.

On Sunday we continue our Advent series on What Can’t Wait. Isaiah’s image of a desert that blossoms offers a helpful way to think about our Advent journey. What does it mean to be a people who delight in God’s presence? What does waiting and longing, even suffering, have to do with joy?

I look forward to seeing you in worship at 7:50 a.m., 10 a.m. or 5 p.m. as we gather together on this third Sunday of Advent and experience the joy of being in the presence of God and one another.

Blessings,
Jim

P.S. Be sure to join us in the gym immediately following 10 a.m. worship this Sunday as we enjoy our festive Cookies, Cocoa, and Choirs celebration and in Fellowship Hall after our 5 p.m. service for our Advent Community Dinner.
Theme for Sunday

Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us. —Henri Nouwen
Questions for Reflection
  • Where are the places or ways that you find joy during the holiday season?
  • What in your life sparks delight and reminds you of God’s presence and love?
  • What is something you could do this Advent season to let someone know their presence brings joy?
Isaiah 35:1-10
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.