Summary: ADVENT 1, YEAR C
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. And he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree, and all the trees; as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare, for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength before the Son of man.”
One day, a young woman received a bouquet of flowers at work with a card that read, “Happy 20th! I’ve made reservations for dinner tonight at our favorite restaurant.” That evening at dinner Her husband surprised her with a pearl necklace and upon placing it around her neck said, “Happy 20th! You’ve made me the happiest man in the World.”
Though clearly moved by her husbands romantic attention the wife exclaimed, “But I don’t understand dear Why do you keep saying Happy 20th? We’ve only been married for one month.” Looking seriously into his wives eyes, the man said, “I never told you what happened to my father. He disappeared on the day after he forgot his 20th wedding
anniversary. No one really knows what happened to him and my mom isn’t talking. So I decided it’s best not to take any chances. Happy 20th dear!”
THE CHRISTMAS TIME OF YEAR
We are now entering one of the busiest times of the year, Christmas time. There are presents to be bought. Relatives to be visited. Church services to attend. Christmas time is suppose to be a time of joy, a time of celebration, a time of Peace on Earth, Good will to Men. But instead, many of us find ourselves so overwhelmed by all that we are
suppose to do, that we begin to worry that in the midst of all this chaos we might miss an event or forget that special someone. Overrun by all this activity the season can easy become a time of stress, a time of worry, a time of chaos. In face of all this anxiety one might be led to ask, What’s the real reason for this season?
It can be like the Peanuts comic strip where Linus and Lucy are standing at the window looking out at the rain falling. Lucy says to Linus, "Boy, look at it rain...What if it floods the earth?" Do you ever feel that way as you look out on Christmas? Instead of seeing joy and peace you only experience anxiety and stress. Have you ever felt that this
Christmas madness was on the verge of overwhelming you like the genesis flood? Thankfully our comic doesn’t end with Lucy’s fearful question, For Linus then says to Lucy, "It will never do that...in the ninth chapter of Genesis, God promised Noah that would never happen again, and the sign of the promise is the rainbow." With a smile on
her face, Lucy replies, "Linus, you’ve taken a great load off my mind." To which Linus responds, "Sound theology has a way of doing that."
TAKE HEED LEST YOU BE CAUGHT UP
Perhaps that’s what we most need at this time of year, some sound theology to lighten this great load called the Christmas season. Today we prepare ourselves for Christmas by first starting with Advent. In the church calendar the new year starts today. Advent means "arrival,” or “coming." It refers to the "coming" of Christ. But of course, you say.
This is Advent. This is the time we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child, born in a manger. This is the time we wait to celebrate the birth of the Son of God on Christmas day. But that’s just one half of the story. That’s just one side of the coin. For Jesus says to us,
“take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare, for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength before the Son of man.”