2nd Sunday of Advent
December 6, 2015
Opening statement: There are lots of ways to get ready for Christmas. Some get ready by decorating a tree and/or the house. Others wrap gifts for the family members and friends. Some bake special cakes and cookies that they serve only during the advent season.
However we prepare, I think that what the prophet Malachi wants us to consider is that we have no idea what we are doing.
However, we know intellectually that we are getting ready to receive the Christ child and to see what new things God will do for us.
While there are time-honored ways of preparing for and welcoming the Christ child…
Malachi states we forgot something important. We have a white-washed vision of “God is with us.”
It’s not going to be a Christmas-card experience, nor a beautiful one with small candles burning in the darkness. This is far more than the burning of one candle. We are telling about the True Light that has come into the world.
The light of these candles is a fire burning so hot that injustice can’t stand it. This is a messy and sometimes difficult situation to perceive.
Our Christmas cards and nativity scenes and Macy’s windows and parade don’t even begin to get to the reality of “God with us.”
In spite of our best intentions, we can’t possibly begin to prepare for something like this. There is a sort of motto of the Reformed Presbyterian church:
“reformed and always being reformed, bringing reform and recreation by the spirit of the living God, who is continually and always working within our lives.”
I wonder if that motto might apply to our advent season. Luke shares with us the appearance of John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness, preaching a baptism repentance, whereby our sins may be forgiven.
This action of John was first mentioned in the book of Isaiah the prophet.
• A voice of one crying in the wilderness
• Get the road ready, for the Lord is coming.
• Make His path straight and the rough places smooth, and all flesh shall see God’s salvation.
At Jesus’ birth, the world was not hearing the ancient message of the prophet, and I wonder if we have captured that message yet today…
At the time of Jesus’ birth, if the king of that day was planning to visit his subjects, a forerunner was sent out telling of the king’s coming, “Prepare for his coming!”
That tradition is still followed today at the coronation service in Westminster Abbey when a new queen is being crowned. Everyone is seated for the service and out of nowhere a small army of men and women come forth with brooms and vacuum cleaners and prepare the road, the carpet runway, for the approaching queen.
As we enter into this advent season, what stands in our path, our lives, that needs to be swept away, that we might encounter a new and fresh awareness of the birth of our Savior?
That God the Father loves us so very much that He sent His own Son to earth as a sacrifice for our sins…
That is the true and only gift of Christmas that we should offer our family, friends, and associates. For Jesus is the reason for the season!
It’s not fancy-lit Christmas trees, fancy packages under it, nor large family gatherings. Those are only a very, very small part of it.
The real and only reason for Christmas is God’s gracious love for His creation, mankind, that He sent His beloved Son in human form to earth.
Lord God Almighty, help us. Enable us to capture the real Christmas Spirit.