(St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know)
THIS IS MY SON
A series of worship and preaching for Advent and Christmas
Whenever I meet with a couple for pre-marriage counseling, I share this quote: “Every disappointment involves unmet expectations.” Then we talk about what expectations for marriage are realistic or unrealistic. I also let them know their spouse will inevitably let them down— sometimes multiple times a day! Marriage is not the only source of disappointment and unmet expectations. Every human relationship will deal with these issues. Have you been happy with every decision an elected official has made, even one for whom you voted? Does your boss ever let you down? Have your employees always done their job well? Do your friends always come through for you? Do your children always make good and wise decisions based on what you have taught them? Human beings will disappoint by failing to meet expectations. No wonder the psalmist tells us in Psalm 146:3–4, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.”
Parents have hopes and expectations for their children. Sometimes these are healthy expectations. Other times parents place unfair or unrealistic expectations on their children. This Advent season, we will look at three different sons of men who were disappointments to their fathers. In the first week, we will be introduced to Cain, the son of Adam. No doubt Adam had higher hopes for Cain than for him to be known as the first murderer in history. But his murder of his brother reveals the murder lurking in all our hearts. In the second week, we will be introduced to Ishmael, the son of Abraham. Though it was not his fault, Ishmael was a disappointment to Abraham because he was not the child of the promise. Abraham’s efforts to take things into his own hands highlight our own tendency to do the same in our relationship with God. In the third week, we will be introduced to Absalom, the son of David. This rebellious son broke David’s heart and exposes the rebellion we display against our heavenly Father. But each week, we will also be pointed to a different Son. This Son is the true Son of Adam. He is the true Son of Abraham. He is the true Son of David. He is the Son who never disappointed His Father. He is the Son who never did any wrong. He is the Son of whom the Father spoke: “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5).
This true Man, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, is also the Son of God, the very Son of God now living in our flesh and blood. This Son is Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, who fulfills the hope of salvation “that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5). He is the One whom the psalmist spoke of in Psalm 146:5: “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God.”
During this series, entitled This Is My Son, you will hear again that your heavenly Father is not disappointed in you. Rather, through Jesus, He considers you to be His beloved child, with whom He is well pleased.
ADVENT 1 – Sunday, November 27. Cain, the son of Adam.
ADVENT 2 – Sunday, December 4. Ishmael, the son of Abraham.
ADVENT 3 – Sunday, December 11. Absalom, the son of David.
ADVENT 4 – Sunday, December 18. Joseph, the son of Jacob.
CHRISTMAS EVE – Saturday, December 24. Jesus, the son of Joseph
CHRISTMAS DAY – Sunday, December 25. Jesus, the Son of God.
May God bless us this Advent and Christmas!