Summary: We need to slow down and remember the reason for the season
The Yellow Light
This is the time of year when everyone starts getting ready for Christmas. The stores have the trees and Christmas decorations on display. They’re running sales trying to encourage all of us to spend, spend, spend. Elevators are filled with all of the instrumental Christmas favorites.
Oh, wait a minute, I’m sorry, I was supposed to preach this sermon back in October!
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Regardless of the retail industry implications that the Christmas season starts in October, today is the OFFICIAL start of our preparations for Christmas, the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth.
What do you do to prepare for Christmas? In these next four weeks, what are your plans? What will you be focusing on? How many dozens of cookies you need to bake? Buying presents? Sending Christmas cards? Buying more presents? Decorating the tree? Wrapping the presents you’ve bought? Singing Christmas carols? Planning the Christmas feast? Buying more presents? Cleaning the house? Buying more presents? What Christmas parties to attend?
Most of you drive, so you know all about traffic signals. You know that green means go, red means stop. What does yellow mean? If you’re thinking, “I know what yellow means. It means step on it to get through the intersection before the light turns red”, then we need to talk!
A young child was having trouble keeping up in school. He worked really hard to keep up with the others in his classroom, but because of his unique challenges, he kept falling behind. As a result, his backpack was crammed full with homework every night. There was no letup. He no longer could play outside with his friends after school. By the time he had made a swipe at all his schoolwork, it was time for bed. The parents consulted with the elementary school guidance counselor and decided that their son needed to be placed with a class of slower learners. It quickly became apparent that the right decision had been made. The third grader got his childhood back, complete with after-school play; a more positive outlook, and grades that matched the front end of the alphabet.
After several weeks of asking his dad if they could play together after dinner, he grew weary of the same response: "I’m sorry, buddy, I have a briefcase full of work I have to do." One day he simply said, "Well, Dad, can’t they just put you in a slower class too?"
Friends, if we’re going to keep from missing Christmas . . . we’re going to have to get into a slower class. We’re going to have to heed the yellow light and SLOW DOWN! We’re too busy hurrying through intersections. And you know what’s going to happen. One of these days, BAM, we’re going to get nailed by someone else who’s in a hurry, too.
Granted, a good many of our commitments are important. Much of what we do is necessary. We find time for recreation, for shopping, for other things we want to do. We must be intentional about making time for God. We plan to find time to hear from God. We need to heed the yellow light.
For most people, Advent is when the Nativity comes out. And with it disagreements about how the figures are to be arranged.