Summary: A sermon for the First Sunday in Advent

1st Sunday in Advent

Matthew 24:36-44

"What Child Is This?"

36* "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

38* For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,

39 and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

40* Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left.

41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left.

42* Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

43* But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into.

44* Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. RSV

If you want to drive your family crazy and especially your wife call home from some where telling the family to get ready for someone is come to dinner. Then hang up. They don’t know who is coming, or when, whether it is some one important, or maybe a relative, a good friend, a total stranger. Their will be high until you walk in the door with this person.

We light the first candle on the Advent wreath this morning as a signal that someone is coming and we have 4 weeks to get ready. But ready for who?? Who is coming?? Our first item of business this Advent season is to answer the question posed by one of our hymns this morning: "What Child Is this, Who laid, to Rest. On Mary ’s lap is Sleeping?"

What child is this who is coming? What does he mean for us?? How will we accept him?? Does he get confused with someone else’s coming.?? Because I would imagine if we ask our children who is coming they might answer with another song that is sung often during this advent season: "You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town!! He knows when you’ve been sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows when you’ve been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake!"!"

During the next four Sundays of Advent, we will answer this question, "What child Is this?" who is coming into our midst at Christmas time.

Our gospel lesson and our first lesson tell us something of this child. It tells us that he is a judge. He will decide something about our fate. It is sort of funny, that the first Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday of the church year, has a text that looks at the end instead of the beginning.

Our gospel text and the text from the first lesson deal with the end of time, the time of God’s final judgment upon the earth. But I think it is very appropriate for us to begin here, because as we learn about this child and his message for us, we will be more ready to accept this message and live in this message if we know the promise of his second coming, or the Parousia of Christ.

We traditionally speak about this text as the second coming of Christ, but is that the correct terminology. Does this mean that Christ has not fully come into our world that we need a second coming.

From a sermon by Bill Adams Trinity Episcopal Church, Sutter Creek, CA. USA

"We so often speak of the Second Coming of Christ.... Frankly I don’t know where we got such terminology.....

The phrase Second Coming does not appear anywhere in the Bible.... The Bible proclaims loudly and clearly that the Christ... The very Word of God... was with God and is God and became flesh in the world.... not once... not twice.... but eternally.....

The inherent problem with a phrase like Second Coming is that it carries the implication of not here yet.

----- But Jesus Christ is not stuck in traffic.... The Redeemer of the world wasn’t sent to us with the wrong zip code... delayed until the Postal Department gets their act together...... the Word of God is present in everything and everyone.... everywhere.... right now!

Advent isn’t a season where we hang out for a while until Christmas happens.... Advent is a season where we learn once again to be an expectant people..... a people who anticipate.... a people who read the signs....a people who look painstakingly for the invasion of Christmas everywhere! "

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