When something hits close to home, it affects us deeply. The stories and scriptures of Advent are tender, heavy with emotion, and vulnerable. We hold the memories and truths of this season close to our hearts. Close to Home acknowledges that Emmanuel is with us, and yet, God’s promised day—our everlasting home—is not fully realized. We long for God to come close. This Advent, may we be comforted by the One who dwells intimately with us. May we expand safety and sanctuary for everyone wandering far from home. May we come home—wherever home is found—to live fully with joy, hope, and courage.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 28
Luke 21:25-36 | 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
As we begin Advent with the “Little Apocalypse” in Luke 21, we remember how far from home we are. The world is not as it should be. Many have lost their physical homes, many feel alone, and many are isolated. Many of us feel as if we are wandering with no clear way forward. This first week speaks to our deep longing—for our home to be made whole, made right, and made well. With deep longing, we watch for God. Thankfully, God enters a homesick world.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5
Luke 1:57-80 | Philippians 1:3-11
In the miraculous birth of John the Baptist, we see the foundation of what is to come. We see how interwomen his story is with Jesus’ origin story. When Zechariah regains his voice, his imagination is also restored. He offers deep praise for God’s tender mercy, and casts a hopeful vision for his own child. He sings blessings into John’s being. This lays the foundation for John’s life. In turn, John will go on to prepare the way for Jesus who will guide us all in the way of peace. In this week, we focus on making space—in our lives and our imaginations—for God’s blessing to break through.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12
Luke 3:1-18 | Zephaniah 3:14-20
John the Baptist’s good news sounds harsh, but he preaches a home for all—where inequities are banished, valleys are lifted up, and all have the resources they need for collective flourishing. Ultimately, John’s message is one of joy. We are called to collectively build and repair the structures of our society; we are called to be kin-dom builders. Wherever we build, God is there. Whatever we build, God is there. What we build should be a place with a large table and room for all.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 19
Luke 1:39-55 | Luke 1:46-55
After receiving the angel’s extraordinary news, Mary retreats to Elizabeth and Zechariah’s home to digest her new calling. She seeks refuge—physical safety and emotional protection. She receives a safe haven, a home for her heart to soon sing praise. Sanctuary and safe space is so crucial for everyone, especially the mother of Christ while she prepares to become a home for God. Sanctuary is anywhere God’s love dwells freely and abundantly.
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