Advent & the Church (part 3 of 4)

Advent means “the arrival of a notable thing, event, or person.” Christians celebrate the arrival of Christ – and that requires us humans to get ready during the weeks before Christmas.


The church has five major purposes: discipleship & education, worship & music, care & service, and outreach & missions. Many churches plan their budgets, staffing, and programming around these emphases. These areas can also be a focus during Advent.

3 Candles

Third Sunday of Advent: Service to Others

On this Sunday we celebrate the role of the church in the service to others, whether they are Christians or not. God asks every Christian to go through life helping others and even do things that are unexpected and unnecessary. Servanthood is an integral part of Christian maturity. The challenge is for each of us to see and act on the daily opportunities to help others regardless of whether or not they appreciate it. We are doing our service because God asks us, not because humans want or need it. Christian service can be seen in the quiet and steady work provided by the animals in the Christmas story.

  • Donkeys – 9-months pregnant Mary probably rode a donkey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, but a donkey isn’t mentioned in that story. Jesus did ride a donkey into Jerusalem at his final Passover. What loads are you carrying? Are they the right loads or is it previous baggage that you should be rid of?
  • Sheep – these animals provided clothing, food, milk, and even warmth. They are useful in many different ways. How are you useful in a variety of means? How are you freely giving away what you have to provide others with clothing and food?
  • Cattle – they aren’t mentioned in the birth story but I needed a fourth animal and we know there were cows in Palestine. They also provided milk and meat and other cows for their owners. When your service gone unnoticed, have you been upset? What kind of recognition do you seek for what you do?
  • Camels – the camels provided transport for the Magi. They plodded long distances carrying foreigners who had an obsession with worshipping Jesus. How do you carry the Good News to others in faraway lands?


As you go through this day and week, look for the times when you can help others whether it is as simple as holding a door or buying someone’s groceries for them. Do these acts not for your own glory but to follow the hoof-prints of these service animals who did their work because that’s what they were created for. Work for God, always.

2014 12-December 27 (2031) Barcelona; Sagrada Familia Nativity Entrance 

Lead On!