“Our Hope Is Built” December 1, 2019
“Our Hope Is Built”
ADVENT… what a perfect word for this this four-week period that come before the day that we celebrate the moment that our God became flesh and came to live among us. If you want a simple translation from the Latin, the word “Advent” means “coming.” In other words, “No more talking about it, no more wondering about it – this is it. The Messiah, our Redeemer, is coming. He’s on his way.”
Now as a kid, I understood Advent a lot different than I do today. My 7 year old self understood this 4-week period of watching and waiting for Christmas – the greatest day ever, by the way – my 7 year old self understood this thing called Advent as nothing more than yet another form of torture cooked up by adults to make my life miserable. Some of the other kids didn’t have to do this; they didn’t have to watch and wait. No, their party started at Thanksgiving and just got better and better until they were opening presents under the tree. But here’s the thing: despite my impatience, I did manage to pick up on a few things. I managed to learn a bunch of new songs; even learned to sing harmony. And I learned that these were special songs that we only sang at this special time of year. Also, I learned about this guy named John the Baptist who was Jesus’ cousin and they were born pretty close to the same time. It was like my cousin Dale and me. I learned a lot of things, but mostly I learned that after Jesus was born, a lot of things changed. People started believing that there could be such a thing as peace on earth and good will to all men. Folks started to understand that our God loves us – really loves us – and that’s the reason Jesus was born; to prove just how much. When Jesus came a lot of things changed; it was a few years later before I realized one of those things was me.
For the next few weeks as we journey through the Advent season, we will doing the traditional stuff. We will read about John the Baptist and about Mary and Joseph. We’ll also be reading from the prophet Isaiah as well as Paul’s letter to the churches in Rome and the writings of James. As we do this, though, I’d like us to stay focused on the Christ: the Christ that was born then and the Christ that lives within us now. I’m hoping that in our worship together we will stay on our toes. I’m hoping that we‘ll stay aware that Jesus is always pursuing us; he never forgets or gives up on us. So let’s choose to be awake and alert because, after all, Jesus is coming. Isn’t that the whole message of Advent? That Jesus is coming? As a baby born on a bed of straw, Jesus comes. As a thief in the night, Jesus comes. So let’s be ready to welcome him in when he comes. Come, Jesus, come… our hope is built on this belief and on this promise.
I’d like to close with a piece written by a Cheryl Lawrie and wish you all the best in this season of hope and joy.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you can have faith;
whether or not you are cynical or despairing,
hope-filled or hope-less:
what matters to God is simply that you are here.
We are entering the time of Advent,
in preparation for Christmas.
Advent reminds us that if God is to be born again
in the most ordinary parts of our world and our lives
that we need prepare for it.
We need to make the space in our lives
where love might be born.
Welcome to this tiny corner of a harsh and dark world.
Together, let us practice being ready
in the faith that Christ will come.
It is the season of Advent; the time of watching and waiting; a time to practice being ready in the faith that Christ will come.
Amen & Shalom