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Recently both Daniel and John in their teachings have discussed John the Baptist and his response to the increasing popularity of Jesus away from his ministry. Daniel said that John the Baptist realized and admitted to the fact that he wasn’t “the big deal” (John 1:20). The big deal was Christ. John (McLeod) taught on the passage where one of John the Baptist’s disciples was lamenting that “all are going to him,” referring to the crowds flocking to see and hear Christ. In chapter 3:27-30 John responds to his disciple in a wonderful way ending with “he must increase I must decrease.”

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It was Christmas Eve in Decatur, Georgia, and my brothers and I had been tucked into bed. In the darkness of my room I opened the curtains on the window next to my bed and peered out into the dark night, my eyes scanning the skies expectantly. But I wasn’t looking for a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. I was hoping to see the star of Bethlehem appear.

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For the Advent season this year we are doing something special. First, we are providing a set of Bible readings to go along with each day of Advent (December 1-25). Second, someone from the church will be providing a reflection on each day's reading. Our intention is to have these posted first thing each morning, maybe even the night before if things go extremely well. Here are the readings and authors for each day of Advent.

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In case you hadn't noticed, the Christmas season is here. Today is Black Friday, and I'm just about to head out for some shopping. We all have about twenty-seven parties scheduled in the next thirty days, and in stores and homes in that same period we'll hear about a thousand different versions of Carol of the Bells. I don't write this as a Scrooge. I love Christmas. But what I love above all the family traditions and celebrations is the Event at the center of it all: The Advent of the Messiah.

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We work hard at things that we think are important. Of course, some of those things simply aren't—at least, not in the larger sense. Fantasy football is underway for many of us, and beating our cousin or co-worker or neighbor feels great in the moment and seems to justify the hours of research we did before making our draft picks. But this probably won't be remembered on our tombstone…even if we win ESPN's bazillion-dollar prize. Sometimes, though, things that really are most important go uncared for.

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