Sermon by Pastor Patrick Fish
December 1-2, 2018
First Weekend in Advent
This weekend marks the beginning of Advent. A season of waiting, longing, promise, and preparation. It’s a time of newness, when we refocus and remember again all God does in our lives.
But it’s hard to find that space to re-center when this is such a busy time of the year. There are presents to buy. Christmas décor to put up. Christmas cards to send out. Food to cook and cookies to bake. Do. Do. Do. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
But what happens is that we get lost in it all. The noise. The lights. And before we know it, it’s December 27, and we wonder how that month even happened.
We forget this time between now and Christmas. This “in between” time that is a perfect time to pause and renew. To hear again not the old news, but the good news that never gets old. That God arrived. That God continues to come down to us as God did in the Christ Child.
My seminary professor, Mary Haemig, argues that we need to reclaim the word “Advent,” a word that means “arrival” or “coming.” In Advent, we don’t just remember the one time God arrived. We praise and proclaim throughout this season that God continues to come and continues to arrive in our lives.
As Christ’s followers, we reflect on all the past and present ways in which God has and is breaking in. And we rejoice that God will continue in the future to respond to whatever happens.
Yet, despite all that, we pause to recognize and name all the upheaval that has been occurring in the world over the past week.
Tear gassing children seeking asylum. Fires destroying entire towns in California. Earthquakes decimating cities in Alaska. Our world cries out. We acknowledge the pain and suffering in the world. We, as the Church, don’t stay silent or turn our heads.
Instead, we stand up and raise our heads. For we know God is at work. Not causing destruction or suffering. But, instead, we place our hope knowing God promises to bring about new life and restoration.
Advent is about preparing ourselves to receive again the Good News. It’s about remembering all God has done. But it’s also about confidently waiting. Hopefully anticipating.