Summary: This is the first of the Advent sermon series focusing on Paving the way for our coming Lord. It is for the first Sunday in Advent.
[This sermon also had bookmark handouts "P.A.V.E the Way" If you would like to have access to the bookmarks we created for this Advent season, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org]
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
P.A.V.E. the Way
Can you believe it is that time of year again? It seams like only yesterday you and I were celebrating our first Advent season together. And here we are again! Snow, or in our case ICE - is on the ground, Christmas music is on the radio, Christmas lights are popping up everywhere, Christmas trees are going up, it’s official - the craziness has begun.
As Christians, we call this season of craziness Advent, a word from the Latin Adventus which means "the coming of the Savior." And the church is properly decked out to prepare the way for the coming king. Greenery is everywhere, representing the evergreen hope, love, joy, and peace of the coming of our Lord. The church is decked out in purple, signifying great royalty in the coming of our king. (Looking around) Yep... I’d say the church is ready... but are we ready?
Brothers and sisters, these next four weeks will go quickly. If we aren’t careful... the entire season of advent will whiz past us at Mach 1. So we need to make sure we take the appropriate steps to P.A.V.E. the way for the coming of our king. P, A, V, E, - We need to be (1) prepared, we need to wait (2) anxiously, we need to be (2) vigilant and (4) eager to make sure our hearts are in the right spot, or we will miss the point of what Christmas is really all about.
Prepare: To get ready for an event. Equip.
I believe one of the greatest pitfalls of Christmas is to get so caught up in the celebration is that we forget what we are celebrating in the first place. Christmas has gotten so commercialized that you don’t even need to be Christian anymore to celebrate it.
A survey put out by the University of Ohio found that nearly half of adult Americans personally know someone who doesn’t believe in God but still will celebrate the yuletide this year. The number of people who will put up a Christmas tree is twice as much as the number of people who will attend a worship service this Christmas. Christmas has become as much a celebration of community as it has a celebration of religion.
We need to properly prepare for the holidays so that we do not fall into this same pitfall. I would like to share with you a poem by an anonymous author that helps to illustrate this point.
READY FOR CHRISTMAS
I’m ready for Christmas, she said with a sigh
As she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high.
Then wearily sat for a moment and read
Till soon, very soon, she was nodding her head.
Then quietly spoke a voice in her dreams,
Getting ready for Christmas means more than it seams.
Your shopping is done and your house is all clean,
But you have forgotten the coming king.
Christ came to give you a life brand new,
and you should remember what he’s done for you!
So as you celebrate this tide full of Yule,
Stop being such a stubborn mule!
Remember the reason you celebrate so,
is that God gave his son very long ago.
(Author Anonymous, highly modified by Rev. Spencer S. Homan)
We need to properly prepare our hearts and our minds so that we do not forget the reason behind this great season.