From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 1st Sunday in Advent

Hello everyone!

Wow, Advent already (as I’m sure I say every Advent). As I mentioned last week (or perhaps it was the week before, I don’t remember as most days are a blur to me now), our Christmas tree is up and we are just gearing up full throttle for Christmas. My siblings and I were planning how we’d handle our kids’ gift exchange this year, and how we’ll just have to do everything over Zoom. And with Black Friday having turned into like Black Month, we have been buying a lot of stuff in just getting ready for the holidays.

Because this year… I think we just need it. We need something big to look forward to, we need to be reminded (a lot) of that joy, we need to have something tangible that we can put our hope in. And what better thing to help with that than Christmas? (well, maybe Easter, but that too far away right now).

So we will continue to hold onto hope. We will continue to anticipate the joy. We will milk every bit of that Christmas cheer as we can while the milking is good.

Yes, it’s early. Yes, it is technically the wrong season. Yes, many of my high liturgical colleagues will want me to hang my head in shame. But it’s ok, because it’s (almost… actually not really but let’s just say it is) Christmas!

Here are the readings for next week:
Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37

Whoa, these are some texts to start Advent with. No nice John the Baptizer text with him calling the Pharisees a brood of vipers, no pretty story about a young girl fending off a home invader that tells her that she’ll have a baby soon, not even a feel-good anecdote about a man who was ready to walk out on his marriage because his fiancee was unfaithful but was told to stay with her because that’s what heroes do. No, none of those. Instead we get these stuff about the end of the world.

But maybe this year… we need that. Because let’s be honest, it sure feels like it’s the end of the world now, doesn’t it? It feels like things are so different, things look so bleak, and people can be so careless that we might as well just end the world (ok, maybe not that drastic, but there’s no question that it’s been a tough year). And in light of that, we could use some hope.

Yes, there is hope in these passages. The sound of gloom and doom might overshadow it, but only if we let it. Let’s not forget the old saying, “sometimes we have to get sick before we get better.” (ok, I don’t know if that’s an actual saying, but that Tomfoolery guy said it at the end of the video I shared a few weeks ago in my sermon). And I think that is essentially what is being said in these passages, and it really hits it home in the Epistle reading where Paul explains how Jesus will strengthen us until the end.

So we’re in Advent. A weird Advent I’ll admit, but Advent nonetheless. And this year, perhaps more so than any other year, we need to hold onto the hope of Advent. We need to remember the joy that is to come (and is also here now). We need to be strengthened by Christ has Christ promises.

Be hopeful. Be joyful. Be strengthened.

Not as catchy as Dr. Bonnie Henry’s slogan, but it’ll do. Have a great week, everyone!

Photo by Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash

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