However, such a beginning to the church year can get a bit lost amid the left-overs in the aftermath of Thanksgiving. How many ways can we repurpose that turkey? Sandwiches, casseroles, soups . . . . .
The whole Advent season can get lost in the anxious frenzy of the Christmas buying season. I have to . . . . .
Advent’s themes of watchful waiting and hopeful preparation may get pushed aside or even run over by all the active rushing around. Yet those themes – and practices – might be most needed by our hectic culture in these days.
Becoming a person who commits to such active, patient waiting rather than to the frantic, harried rushing may ask of us that we take a stand for such gentle space and hopeful time – as well as calm and joyous faith.
Such a stand is not just for us but also for others around us. That is witnessing to the faith that we trust God’s promise, that we trust God with the big stuff. Sure, we may realize we need to get another stocking stuffer for our niece. That is our’s to accomplish.
But in the context of the big picture. That object purchased is not the center of this season. We are called to reflect the patient, waiting reality with our lives. God’s got this.
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
SERMON: “Being a Stand-up Christian”
28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: "The LORD is our righteousness."
How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.
11Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 13And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
[Jesus said:] 25"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
29Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34"Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, 35like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."