From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 2nd Sunday of Advent

Hi everyone,

So the Black Friday deals are still going on for a little while yet, as the retailers make a whole weekend (or more) out of this consumeristic event that honestly wasn’t even a big deal when I was a kid. But it seems like the last few years it has become bigger and bigger and bigger until I admit that I’ve succumbed to the lure of its siren song:

“Buy! Buy! Buy! Save money! Spend! Spend! Spend!”

To be honest, they had me at save money. And I try to keep my buying to things that we were going to buy anyway, but might as well buy now to save money. At least, that’s my rationale and justification. Christmas is just around the corner and we have to buy this stuff anyway, so might as well do it as frugally as possible.

Still, it’s a bit of a headache. The adults are worried about credit card bills and hiding spots for all this stuff, the kids are bouncing off the walls in excitement, and the religiously pious are contemplating the ethics of it all. What a tumultuous time of year this is.

But after all is said and done… on that Christmas morning… we will be reminded that in spite of the journey, in spite of the highs and lows along the way, in spite of how many trips were needed to the mall and back, God is good to us and God is with us and God loves us. It might not help us now as we’re in the thick of it, but it is good to know at least in hindsight that beyond the consumerism and stress, beyond the bills and payments, beyond all the things that separate us in this season, that we are all actually made equal in God’s love in that God sent Jesus to us all.

Not just the ultra rich. Not just the ultra good. Not just those with the most toys. But also to those who aren’t rich at all. Those who find themselves in the wrong situations at the wrong times. Those who have nothing.

All. By God’s grace.

Here are the readings for next week:
Malachi 3:1-4
Luke 1:68-79 (this is indeed the Psalm for the day, but just out of Luke… still a spiritual song though)
Philippians 1:3-11
Luke 3:1-6

Now it really starts to feel like Christmas when we start talking about John the Baptizer. Sure, he doesn’t make it into the Nativity scenes or mentioned much at all in Christmas carols or anything as he isn’t really part of the Christmas story per se, but him pointing to Jesus the way he does really reminds us (or at least me) of Christmas (or perhaps just Advent).

Either case, John’s message is clear: Jesus is coming. And when Jesus is here, things will happen. You know, things. The prophecy says that the valleys will be filled in and the mountains and hills be made low. the crooked roads will be straightened and the rough ways will be smoothed out. Mmkay cool. What does that mean?

Well, I take it to mean that when Jesus enters our lives, we’ll see just how much we’re all the same. While we come from different places, different upbringings, different times in history, we are all the same before our Lord and Saviour. We are all equally saved by this grace of this Messiah. We are all loved just the same by this God who promises to be with us for all time.

And I find that incredibly comforting and liberating. That regardless of where we are in live, where we’ve been, and where we think we’re going, we are still regarded by God as God’s own people. Regardless of our journeys, our histories, our successes or failures, God forgives us, redeems us, and recreates us to be saints. Regardless of what stresses we might face, what turmoils we need to endure, what highs and lows we encounter throughout our lives, God levels us out and leads us into salvation with all of God’s people of all times and places.

This is a pretty big promise. One that brings out the Christmas joy that we together look forward to in hope and anticipation.

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

Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash

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