Between Sundays Logo

Between Sundays for Week of November 14, 2022

Our Advent observance begins earlier this year than usual, as we reflect on the one for whom we wait. Come, Lord Jesus…as King of Nations, Key of David, Dayspring, Branch of Jesse, Wisdom, Emmanuel. If it’s not too early for Wegmans to hang their large wreath outside and for my mailbox to be flooded with toy catalogs, then it’s definitely not too early to proclaim this message loud and clear: the Lord is coming.

The Lord is coming, Pastor Hoffman proclaims. And he won’t be found in trappings of the “Christmas culture,” as The Rev. Dr. Bill Peterson coined it in his book on extending Advent that we studied together last month. Our Lord will be found in the moments of grace that bring feuding family members to reconcile. He will be found in the honest confession of wrongs committed and the forgiveness extended. He will be found bringing justice and peace.

Advent begins by focusing our attention not on the baubles and tinsel, not on the greens we hang or the lights we string, not on the cookies we bake or the presents we wrap. Advent begins by focusing our attention on the one for whom we wait: Our Lord Jesus, the King of Nations.

O Come, O King of Nations, Come,

O Cornerstone that binds in one:

Refresh the hearts that long for you;

Restore the broken, make us new.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O people of God at Bethlehem.

P.S. Would you like to reflect more deeply on the aspects of God for whom we wait? Share in conversation after worship at 10:15 in the sanctuary with a Pastor during the weeks of Advent.

The Word Logo

We traditionally think of Joy to the World as a Christmas carol, but this year, it frames the beginning of an extended Advent observance at Bethlehem. Based on the words of Psalm 98, this beloved carol reminds us of the one for whom we wait.  When the world is falling apart, we look with eager hope for God’s kingdom to come.


“Joy to the World” was not originally written as a Christmas carol. It was written as paraphrase of psalm 98 – originally, not even a hymn at all. Watts titled his poem, “The Messiah’s coming and Kingdom.”  In other words, this is not just about celebrating baby Jesus lying in a manger. It’s about looking with hopeful expectation to the Lord’s coming – King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the one whose kingdom we long to see realized.