From the Pastor’s Desk
Dear Friends, We have now entered the season of Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Advent is a time to prepare for the birth of the Christ child. Advent is a time for us to focus on what it means to all of us that God chose to enter this world through the womb of Mary.
It’s easy for us to overlook how incredible it is for God to share the gift of salvation through a woman like Mary. We’ve just gone through an election where we have elected the “leader of the free world” but God chose an ordinary woman and her husband to bring about the most important change to ever be revealed.
So what does it mean that God broke into the world through Mary and Joseph? It means that we should spend less time looking to see God at work in the powerful and elite and more time looking for God in the everyday. It means we ask ourselves what can we do in small ways that may have an important impact rather than being focused on those that seem to make a big impact.
A good example of how small acts can make a big impact is the play “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” that the children and youth will be presenting on Christmas Eve. Maybe it’s not the elaborate productions but the simple and heartfelt ones that can be transforming.
So during this Advent prepare for the birth of Christ by looking for God to act in small but significant ways.
Devotion: Read Matthew 3:1-12
In this passage John the Baptist appears from out of the wilderness and proclaims, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke of when he said, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”
As my friend of colleague Rev. Jill Duffield says, “Just when the Christmas music is unavoidable and the push to buy the perfect gift that reveals our love relentless, John the Baptist shows up overflowing with righteous indignation. He cares not about niceties or social conventions or respect for those in charge. I like that about him. Not because I think I am excluded from the brood of vipers; I am a pastor, a religious leader, so I am intertwined totally in that pit. What I appreciate is that John’s wrath is indiscriminate. John’s call to repentance is universal and without exception. He feels no need to suck up to power, plead for civility in the face of injustice, or soften the message so as it might get heard. John cares not one iota about what others think of him. John is everything I am not and perhaps that’s why I am so grateful he is a regular participant in the run up to “the most wonderful time of the year.”
So how do we repent and prepare the way of the Lord? What do we see around us that is wrong or unjust that John’s words push us to address? What in our life do we need to change so that we best prepare for the coming of the Messiah? What if we took Christmas really serious this year and sought to repent and invite others to repent from destructive acts and behaviors as well?