“God was getting ready to give the whole world a wonderful present. It would be God’s way to tell his people, ‘I love you’.” Excerpt from The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones Have you ever whispered someone’s name? Perhaps they were busy and you wanted to get their attention without getting everyone’s attention. So you whispered their name and waited to see if they would hear and respond. When I was elementary aged we lived in Michigan and all of the bedrooms were on a long hallway that led to the living room. Many nights after my sister and I were sent to bed we would lay on the floor in our room, with just enough of our heads sticking out of the doorway to see, and watch the television shows our parents were watching. I’m not sure to this day if my parents really knew we were doing this. Usually, after we were sent to bed one of us would get to the doorway first and start whispering the other’s name. Most nights we met up fairly quickly. Some nights I remember being left there whispering my sister’s name, repeatedly, with no response. I would whisper and wait, but I’m pretty sure those were the nights she fell asleep. This Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means ‘coming’ or ‘visit.’ The Advent season begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is also the beginning of the Church year for Christians. During the Advent season we prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. We remember how the Jewish people longed for the coming Messiah. We also contemplate our own need and longing for forgiveness, salvation, and a new beginning. We take time to remember the humble birth of Jesus while also looking forward to the time when Jesus will come again as the fulfillment of all that was promised in his first coming. Our messages through Advent this year are entitled Every Story Whispers His Name. We will be looking at Advent, and Christmas, through the eyes of a child. Each week one of our very own kids from our Kid’s Ministry will read a bible story from The Jesus Storybook Bible written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The subtitle of this storybook bible is Every Story Whispers His Name. The premise the author holds is that ALL of Scripture is the story of Jesus. The New Testament is explicitly about the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. However, the Old Testament at the very least implicitly whispers His name. We will look at the stories of Abraham and Isaac, Moses and the Red Sea, the slave girl and Naaman, and the story of the Shepherds. Through all of these stories in Scripture we will see how every story whispers His name. Back to my childhood story … I remember how it felt to have my sister respond when I whispered her name. It was a great feeling. Of course, when we were kids we were sneaking to get away with something we shouldn’t be doing. In the case of Scripture, every story we read is God whispering the name of Jesus to us. It is a love story from a God who loves us. A God who wants to save us not punish us. A God who wants us to live abundantly not die. Every story whispers the name of Jesus who made God’s love incarnate. As we will see throughout Advent, God whispers the name of Jesus to us in every story and our part is to simply respond. God longs for us to hear the whisper and believe in the name of Jesus. The name to which every knee will bow and every tongue confess in heaven and on earth. It is my prayer that we will all see how every story whispers his name this Advent. That we will respond to the name of Jesus. That we will experience the fullness of life in Jesus. That we will seek to share the hope of this life with those who have not yet received it for themselves. This Sunday we begin the message series "Every Story Whispers His Name." May we all be listening for the whisper. There is no greater purpose in life than to follow God. God is at work at St. Andrew’s and I can’t wait to see you in church!