Beginning Sunday, November 27th, we will embark on a journey through Advent together. The centerpiece of our journey will be the wonderful Advent devotional written by John Pavlovitz called “Low.”

Using “Low” as our guide, we will be offering you opportunities to deepen your Advent journey through daily devotionals, weekly zoom call, weekly discussion group, and more. Plus, each Sunday message and the weekly Vision article will also be following the “Low” devotional.

I wonder what kind of Christmas we could create together if we all journeyed together. I hope each of you can make a way to join in.

Copies of “Low” will be available at church starting this Sunday. Or, you can order your own copy. Here is the link to buy “Low” through Amazon:

Low: An Honest Advent Devotional: Pavlovitz, John (

More specifics about the Advent journey offerings will be announced soon. But for now, you can get a head start by reading the Introduction of “Low,” which is reprinted below.

Along for the ride, Pastor Bob

INTRODUCTION to “Low” by John Pavlovitz

It’s often said that we see our lives with perfect clarity as we look back at them: hindsight improves our vision and clarifies all that once was cloudy. This isn’t always as true of our spiritual journeys. Sometimes our place in time is actually a barrier to really getting close enough to truly feel it all. We naturally read the Bible retrospectively. We encounter our faith tradition in the rearview mirror of history, and as a result we approach it knowing how the story ends.

This often leads us to sanitize the Gospels—to obscure the gritty, messy reality of those moments as they were experienced in real time. It actually squeezes out the surprise and the wonder and the unbelievable-ness of it all. We tend to over spiritualize the events being described, and this places a distance between them and us. We view the God-narrative as if from thirty thousand feet, safe in the abstract places of detached theology.

There, Scripture is a movie we are passively watching rather than a true story we are participating in, and so we often miss the gravity of these moments and fail to experience them on visceral level, which is a shame. The greater time and emotional distance we get from the stories of Jesus, the smaller he actually becomes and the less wild and dangerous these stories feel.

But there is a beauty in trying to see these accounts from the ground level, to imagine how they looked and felt from the low places of people’s ordinary lives—people who didn’t know what we think we know from where we’re standing. When we do, we remember what is really going on here. We remember that this is the story of an olive-skinned baby, born amid the smell of damp straw and animal dung because no human-worthy welcome could be found; of a child of young Palestinian Jewish parents, desperately fleeing politically ordered genocide. It is the story of a poor, itinerant, street preaching rabbi; spending his days dining with the lepers and prostitutes, enlisting the doubters and the backsliders, and comforting the bleeding and the grieving. It is divinity coming low to inhabit humanity. It is God’s massive scale delivered in counterintuitive smallness. It is beautifully strange.

When we place our feet firmly in the dirt and dust of the everyday within the Gospel stories, we see Jesus getting low to meet us there. It reminds us that more often than upon the jubilant summit of the radiant mountaintop, the spiritual journey is spent in the low and shadow places. We are there in that beautiful lowness when we live humbly. We are there when we seek forgiveness. We are there in our grief and suffering. We are there when we kneel in reverent awe. We are there when we spend ourselves on behalf of someone else. When we place ourselves in these postures, our perspective changes, our attitude towards people shifts, and we become agents of love in a way that actually resembles Jesus. We perpetuate his character through our very lives. The season of Advent allows us to notice the posture we are living in; and invites us to step into the story again and to get our hands dirty. It is a space where we can walk together and get proximity to these stories again—to a place closer than religion can go.                                                                                                                                                                           When Jesus offers the prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven,” he reminds us that the invitation as we walk the road of Advent, is not to escape this place to an elevated Heavenly sanctuary somewhere, it is to bring Heaven down. Immanuel means “God with us.” In other words, it is Jesus, getting low. This is really good news for us here on the ground.

Let’s head to the low places together.