Monday, November 30, 2015

Advent

Image result for free advent images

Advent is the season of the liturgical year in which Christians prepare remember Jesus' birth, celebrate their commitment to living as his disciples, and look forward to the time when God's will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Advent began yesterday, on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and ends with the coming of Christmas.

In some times and places, Advent observances have had a strong penitential flavor. That does not make sense to me. We should celebrate good news. Turning away from one's sin can help a person to align him/herself more fully with God. However, Jesus was, and will be, born regardless of whether I turn from sin toward God.

Thankfully, a growing number of Churches and congregations are setting aside the idea that Advent is a penitential season. Symbolizing this change, royal blue is supplanting penitential purple as the seasonal color. Blue recalls Jesus' Davidic lineage (a maternal lineage according to the New Testament!) and the promises of hope, peace, and life from God that Israel believed it had received.

In the hustle and often-stressful rush of Christmas preparations, this year I have set two personal goals. First, I hope to keep my preparations in perspective. That is, to see the preparations as symbolic acts: gifts and cards as tokens of love for family and friends; decorations as catalysts for the Spirit; special meals as opportunities to cultivate deeper relationships.

Second, and similarly, I want to carve out some time each week (perhaps the hour or so that I spend in a worship service on Sunday morning) to reflect on the pearl of great value contained within the earthen vessels that are Christian theology and the Church (cf. my recent Ethical Musings' post on Jesus, Christ, and Christianity).

If interested, my sermon for the First Sunday of Advent is here.

1 comment:

Dotun Olagoke said...

Fr. George----As I was reading your sermon notes of November 29, 2015, Acts 20:35 (NIV) crossed my mind----“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”----Thanks so much for your contribution