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

Hi everyone,

I can’t believe we’re heading into Advent already. Soon it’ll be Christmas and we’ll all be a little bit poorer, and then the year 2020, which I’m sure will be filled with eyesight jokes (I can see it now…). I personally prefer foresight to hindsight (you know, in 2020).

Seriously though, having the foresight into what is coming, namely Christmas, helps with our pocketbooks. It helps with getting the right things for right people, and it helps not having to deal with the crazy parking lots at the malls. My wife and I have been planning our budget around Christmas, as we all know it is a busy and expensive time, and it’s important not to go too crazy and be caught off guard with the first credit card bill of the year. I mean, you don’t want to be a spectacle in 2020.

Still, there are some who prefer a quiet, less expensive Christmas. Time with family, time with friends, time alone or with a loved one in front of a fire with hot chocolate (literally has never happened to me). But it takes that foresight to plan that, if that is your optical option… I mean optimal option.

However, whichever route you go for Christmas, it will still be Christmas. It will be for you what you want it to be, what you make it to be, what you hope it will be. Of course, there will be surprises and shocks, unexpected and perhaps unwanted things, maybe a bunch of eye-poppers that come out of nowhere. But through it all, the joy of the season, the love of family and friends, the peace in the festive lights that are pretty much everywhere already, and the hope that comes with a baby born will be present, apparent, and abundant.

At least, that’s how I see it.

Here are the readings for next week:
Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

These seems like funny texts for the first Sunday of Advent, in that we’d think we’d get more hope, and not as much doom and gloom. At least, that is what it seems at first glace. As I looked at the texts more, I see that they aren’t so much fear inducing as they are hope producing. They aren’t trying to scare us straight as much as they are giving us something to look forward to. They aren’t about making us feel bad for living the way they do, but to help us see Jesus in our world now.

Because, as the gospel tells us, we don’t know the day or the hour. We don’t know what it’ll look like when Jesus comes. We don’t know what we’ll see.

But we know he’s coming.

We know he’s here. We know he is in our midst as we gather, as we worship, and as we pray. And as we talked about today, he is with us in our suffering, in our hardship, and in those times where we just can’t feel or see an end to whatever plight we might be going through.

I believe this is the hope we hold onto in Advent, that we look forward not to a literal coming of Jesus into our world, but we look forward to seeing how Jesus has and will manifest himself in our world, in our community, and in our relationships.

It’ll look different for different people, but it will happen. And it will be full of that joy, love, peace, and hope.

Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!

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