Sermon:
Advent I - Peace Isaiah 2:1-5

The season of Advent comes upon us year after year, and most every year we sing and pray and read about darkness and the dawning of light. You know the texts:

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."

"Arise! Shine! For your light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you."

"Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended."

"And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High . . .The dayspring from on high has visited us, To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

The Advent message is all about waiting with great anticipation for the coming of Christ among us again . . . the Light that shatters our darkness and brings us Adventís Big Four: Peace, Hope, Joy, and Love. Peace, of course, comes on the first Advent Sunday, followed by Hope, then Joy (complete with its own pink candle); and finally Love when the long-expected Christ-baby is finally born. Right on cue! Right on time! Choreographed perfectly with our candle lightings and our carefully selected readings and hymns! By the time we light the glorious Christ candle, we should be fully enlightened . . . our darkness dispelled. And it will then be said of us: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who had dwelled in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."

So be here on Adventís fourth Sunday ready to celebrate, because on that day, the preacher will declare the darkness dispelled from your life! And the preacher will call you to recognize the light that has dawned upon you with the glorious bidding to:
"Arise! Shine! For your light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you."

I wish it were that easy. I wish that just declaring it made it so. I wish that with four powerful Advent sermons, scripture readings, hymns and carols, and lighting Advent candles, we could shatter the darkness that covers our lives. But even the most elaborate Advent season, held in magnificent cathedrals to enormous super churches, will not necessarily bathe us with the glorious light of salvation that will end the darkness that surrounds us. After all the Advent festivities are ended and the glorious harmonies of the hymns are silenced, we will still face the fragileness of our relationships, the disappointments of our lives, the turmoil of our existence, and the fears . . . all the fears that life heaps upon us.

Fortunately, today is only one day of Advent - the first day - and we donít have to get the full measure of glorious salvation in one Advent Sunday. All we have to take with us for this day is peace. Ironically, the first step in reaching a place of peace is comprehending