Summary: A sermon for Advent.
“Getting Ready For Something BIG”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church
One of the most popular t-v game shows is The Price Is Right hosted by good old Bob Barker.
When you receive tickets to attend this highly-watched, fast-moving game show, you become
automatically eligible to have your name drawn to become a participant.
As the show opens, names are drawn, and an announcer exclaims: “Betty Walker, come on down!”
Betty excitedly jumps from her seat and runs down to the front of the game show set to compete with
other contestants for an opportunity to go on the platform to guess the price of various show cases.
If Betty guesses right, she will beat out the other competitors by coming the closest to the price of a
certain item or items.
When this happens, she runs onto the platform to compete for various prizes and show cases.
Competing on The Price Is Right all begins when the announcer calls a constestant’s name and asks her to
“Come on down!”
In chapter 64:1-9 gives us a picture...
...on this first Sunday of Advent of Isaiah’s desire for God to reveal Himself once again to His people.
For Isaiah, God must appear.
The great Advent hymn reveals this desire of Isaiah and of people of all times for God to come down.
O come, O come, Emmanual,
And ransom captured Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
This is Isaiah’s desire...
...but it is also our desire.
How are we getting ready for Christmas?
Have we gotten out our Christmas tapes or CD’s yet?
Have we started our gift shopping?
Have we decided what Christmas cookies we are going to bake?
Have we written our Christmas cards yet?
Have we put up our Christmas trees?
Christmas preparations are starting earlier and earlier.
Some stores start putting up their Christmas displays before Halloween!
While that may seem out of place...
...aren’t they merely following that traditional advice: “One can never start too early to get ready for something
Advent is a time of expectation, anticipation, and preparation for celebrating the fact that Jesus came into
this world 2,000 years ago...
...that Jesus has come into the hearts of those who believe and has caused us to become born again...to become
new creations...children of God...
...and that Jesus will come back again and usher in God’s kingdom in all it’s fullness!
“Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!”
The prophet Isaiah is speaking on behalf of a people who are powerless and oppressed.
His address is in the form of a prayer which contains the hope of Advent.
Isaiah reminds God about how God came and helped in the past...
...and Isaiah is waiting for God to come again...
...to rip open heaven so that He can become involved in the affairs of earth!
“How then can we be saved?”
Isaiah is waiting for Christ...the Messiah....
...and he petitions Christ to “come down,” but in order to attract God’s attention, something must be done besides
As the prophet surveys the situation, he lowers his voice and confesses the guilt of the nation...
...for Israel has sinned and is unclean!
For the church to really experience Advent, there must be genuine confession and repentance.
For all of us to truly prepare for the coming of Christ, there must always be confession and repentance!
Before Christ comes into our hearts we must confess our sins and repent...
...in order to be ready for the second coming of Christ we must confess our sins and repent.
Confession is a clearing house in order for us to seek the mercy of God.
True confession washes away the arrogance of thinking that we can save ourselves.
Advent comes each year to judge us and remind us that we are all sinners.
Advent also answers the question: “How can we be saved?”
Isaiah reminds Israel and us that our own efforts to save ourselves leave us like filthy rags...
...contaminated and impure.
In our own strength we are like a fall leaves...
...faded and vulnerable, that will be blown away!
How are we getting ready for Christmas?
Let’s let our Gospel lesson for this morning set the stage for us:
“And at that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends
of the heavens.”
Are we talking about getting ready for Christmas here?
Have we made a mistake?
The answer is “No!”
Because it all depends on what we are preparing for!