Summary: When company is coming there is a certain “look” that accompanies the anticipation; the same is true as we patiently await the return of Jesus.
SERMON #1 OF THE ADVENT SERIES “HOPE IS IN THE WAY”
Big Idea: When company is coming there is a certain “look” that accompanies the anticipation; the same is true as we patiently await the return of Jesus.
A TIME OF CELEBRATION IS AT HAND! Yes, a time of celebration is at hand – a new year begins today! “But”, I hear you say, “hang on a sec! It isn’t January 1st, it’s December 1st!” Ah, true it is, but just the same, a new year begins today! The Church’s new year, that is. Today it’s the first Sunday in Advent, and the season of Advent begins the Church year for the Christian Church around the world. The traditional liturgical color for Advent (like that of Lent) is … Purple. Advent (also like Lent) traditionally being a season of reflection, repentance, preparation, waiting, anticipation, and longing.
Advent means “arrival” and it is the season when we reflect upon our readiness (or lack of it!) to welcome Jesus. We reflect upon what His coming means for us; not only his first arrival (Christmas) but also his “second coming” … not to mention the potential that is here for us to receive a fresh visit/arrival from his Spirit during this season.
So we prepare, wait for, anticipate and long for his coming – which we celebrate each year at Christmas. Our Gospel readings and candle lightings aid us as we seek personal spiritual renewal and prepare to welcome Jesus into our lives afresh.
A TIME OF CELEBRATION IS INDEED AT HAND!
And with that we have chosen Matthew 24:36-51 as our worship theme and sermon text this morning.
36 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 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; 39 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. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 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. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 45 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,' 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This might seem like a strange “Christmas text” but it is a perfect Advent text. Jesus prefaces his parable with a statement of the reality of what it means to harbor the deepest longing in every Christian’s heart, waiting for his coming. He knows of the impatience of the human spirit, how easily we give up, when we’re waiting – and waiting – and waiting … and nothing seems to happen. Jesus says, “Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” That charge by Jesus includes not only a sense of watchfulness but also a need for waiting, patience, hope, and anticipation.
The scenario was acted out in thousands of homes this past Thanksgiving week. The arrival of company was preceded by Hopeful Anticipation. Now such anticipation has a certain look about it. Take my daughter for example. She and Kris hosted Thanksgiving this week and everyone was coming from a long distance away.