I wonder how many things we miss getting caught up in the hype surrounding Christmas. What other stories do we not hear because we are focused solely on the gifts, the parties, the stuff of Christmas? What other important things in life are we ignoring? For Americans and Christians, December 25 is Christmas Day, the day we celebrate Jesus's birth. But for everybody else, it is just Thursday, a Thursday like any other, full of work and stress and hopefully play and rest. What else will happen in the world that day that no one will ever know about because Christmas is that day?
I think the truth, the scary truth, is that we look at our ordinary lives, our ordinary families, our ordinary cars, our ordinary houses, our ordinary town, and we are frightened by what we see; or rather, we're frightened by what we don't see—something extraordinary. We are nothing special, nothing worth noting. If we died tomorrow, would anyone outside our small extended families notice or care?
Out of Control
Advent reminds us that we can't stop wars from happening, that we can't prevent people from murdering other people, that we can't cure every disease, that we can't prevent every suffering, that we can't prevent every (or any) natural disaster. Like when we witness a hurricane or a tornado tearing through our feeble human-made constructions, Advent is a time when we are humbled by the fact that so very, very little is really in our control.
An Advent Devotional
A few months ago, I was asked to write a devotion for the Trinity Lutheran Seminary Alumni Devotions. I was assigned December 20, and based my devotion on Galatians 4:1-7. You can find the entire devotion series here on Trinity's website. But when the fullness of time had come, God send his Son, born of … Continue reading An Advent Devotional
Sermon–December 11, 2011–Advent 3B
Third Sunday of Advent B Preached at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Muskegon, MI, while on Internship. Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 Psalm 126 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 John 1:6-8, 19-28 “In a move to "promote greater unity" among its body and the Pike County community it serves, a small Kentucky church voted to ban interracial couples from membership … Continue reading Sermon–December 11, 2011–Advent 3B