Sunday, November 29, 2015

ADVENT WEEK 1 - 2015
Jeremiah 33:14-16

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  The first week of Advent is the new year for the church and the Christian Calendar.

Growing up, I thought this season was sort of weird. The rhetoric was all about looking forward to the birth of Jesus and the anticipation of a Messiah coming and I thought, this is stupid, don't they know he has already come?! Why are we "waiting for his arrival" yet again!

Later in my life I realized why we use the language of anticipation. The Christian year is set up to focus on the Life (Christmas), Sacrifice (Lent & Holy Week), and Gift (Resurrection & Pentecost)of Jesus. It reflects the story of our Christian faith and it starts the year with the Advent season.

Therefore every Advent is the review of what already has taken place and the start of anticipation. We anticipate what is yet to come and how the coming of Jesus impacts our future.

In today's scripture reading in Jeremiah, the prophet is doing exactly that.  He is looking at what has happened, what is happening, and looks forward to what will be.

For me, I look back on my life and see how Jesus has impacted my life already but I also anticipate how Jesus' incarnation will make a difference in my life in the year to come.

You could say that this season is really about the already, and the not yet. How has Jesus' entrance into the world impacted your life already and how do you anticipate what yet he has to do in you?

Feel free to share your thoughts about Advent...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Anticipation - ADVENT Week 2

Advent 2013 - Week 2 - December 8

Revised Common Lectionary Reading:
Matthew 3:1-12

Advent is more than just a looking forward.  Each advent we say that we are looking forward to, once again, the birth and the coming again of Jesus.  For many, there is a remembrance of what has already happened and there is an anticipation of what is yet to come.  

But what about the "in-between"?  What about the place that is in the middle of the already and the not yet?  This is where we find ourselves right now, in this immediate moment.

Our passage today is about John the Baptist with the famous quote from the prophet Isaiah to "prepare the way" and "clear the road for him" (NLT).  In these immediate moments, how can we prepare the way for the coming of Jesus.  I see this preparation in a few different ways.

First, how can we prepare our own hearts and lives for Jesus to come to us once again.  How can we prepare ourselves for Jesus to be present within our lives.  What are the things that will be welcoming to him.  How would our lives be different if we had this type of focus?

Second, how can we prepare the world for the advent of Jesus?  Advent is not about our own lives only, but also what we can do within our world to prepare for Jesus to enter.  Now when I say this, I don't just mean in the future, but how he will enter our world now…through our very lives.  Through our very hands.

Third, how can we prepare others for Jesus to come to them?  Through the sharing of our lives and the generosity that come from sharing, we can actually prepare others' lives to welcome Jesus.

Pray about how these phrases, "prepare the way" and "clear the road for Him" and what they can mean for our lives as Jesus' disciples, living in such a way that this is what actually happens in and through our lives…that the way is prepared for Jesus to come, for Jesus to be present.