Dec 2 2018 1 Sun of Advent

Dec 2, 2018 1 Sun of Advent Year C 

Mark your calendar- save the date- don’t miss it.  We get all sorts of reminders and invitations this time of year.  It can get to be overwhelming during this season.  What season is that?  I’m not talking about outdoor enthusiast’s deer hunting season or the business owner’s top sales season.  For Lutheran’s this season is the season of Advent. 

Advent is a time of preparations and I think were all preparing for Christmas – that commemoration of Jesus coming to us as a child in a cradle.  However, today’s lessons talk of a different type of preparation to meet Jesus- not as the Christ child in a cradle but as Christ the King to rule for all time.

How to get ready?  We’re already burdened and overbooked…this just seems overwhelming when you don’t know when it’s coming—my wife and I had dickens of a time getting out of town relatives to tell us when they’d show up for thanksgiving.  Here we have all this food to prepare and we don’t know when to serve so we don’t know when to start. Ugh!!

Is Jesus doing something of the same?  I’m not going to tell you when I’m showing up but I expect you to be ready.  First of all, it is easier to clean up a somewhat clean room than it is to clean up a disastrously untidy room- so making it a lifestyle rather than u-turn makes it less stressful.  But God accepts both that’s the beauty of grace.

The second thing to point out is that Americans have an uncanny knack for thinking busy-ness is a good thing.  And if busy-ness is a good thing than overly busy-ness is a great thing.  We overburden ourselves, overbook our schedules, with an expectation that it can all fit in if we’re just determined enough, organized enough, lucky enough the day, the season, the sale, the event, the occasion will be GREAT!  So we get caught up in, get swept away by or down right dive into busy-ness only to wonder with all our Great and Glorious busy-ness why our close relationships are falling apart, our work is sloppy and less productive, and our health is suffering??

I want to say a word of grace to you this Advent season or as retail shops back in September called it “the Christmas season.”  God is in control… every bone in your body may be screaming it isn’t so with all the chaos, violence, depression, Lordstown shutdown, and such.  However, if we take a breath, slow down, focus on our faith and concentrate on Christ will come to realize its true, God’s in control and God cares. 

Had a “preacher moment” given to me this week by deer hunter- Its cold and he’s old, he’s wondering what he’s doing out there and starts talking God. Ok God, if you see fit, send you’re suffering servant a deer.  Over the course of several hours the conversation with God gets more elaborate and intense.  He’s old, he’s cold, the bladder calls and he continues his prayer, “O Lord be merciful to me your suffering servant allow me to get something for all this effort don’t let me go home empty handed?!”

 Just then taking in the midst of taking care of nature a miracle of nature walks not 20 yards away, a doe.  It’s kind of like a stare down, like the doe is saying “What ya going to do about old man?  He goes back to his stand, screaming mad at God… what were you thinking?!! You knew I’d have to go and you sent it just when I could ‘t do a thing GRRR!  He settles back in to his stand and reluctantly apologizes to God but instead of returning to his pleading he sits and sulks.  In walks a beautiful buck- he was able to bring it down and it was big and beautiful enough that he’s going to stuff and mount it for a trophy.  The hunter told me that despite my telling God how to do things, God still looked out for me- if I’d been ready I would have had to pass on the buck because I already got the doe.

It may not look like it, feel like it, but because of Jesus walking our dusty soil taking our punishment at Calvary and completely crushing Satan’s tool of death we know God cares, we can have faith God is in ultimate control, and we can have hope for each day, and love for each moment.

When we get ourselves pumped up that we’ve got to take control… life is hard, life is imbalanced…  Reminds me of Chrismon (series for advent) of globe with cross on it.  It's supposed to represent that Christ's cross have overcome the world's sin.  Christ reigns over the world with his love.  This reminds me of the great Story of a NYC executive who sought the counsel of his pastor.  After listing his impossible dilema the pastor asked him to meet him the next day at Rockefeller square (two opposing pictures of the weight of the world) "Once, Bruce Lawson tried to help a New York executive, with his control needs. And so they walked to the large statue of Atlas that stands in front of Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. As you might guess, Atlas is straining and struggling to carry the world on his shoulders. But then, Larson took the executive across the street to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. And there, behind the high altar, they found a statue of the boy Jesus -- also carrying the world, represented by a small orb in his hand. But unlike Atlas, Jesus is not straining or struggling; He’s radiating peace. And then it dawned on the executive: he had a choice -- continue to carry the world and struggle like Atlas – or – give control of the world -- including his world – to God – and know peace like Jesus." (Bruce Larson, in Believe and Belong).

Atlas struggling, vs Jesus calmly waving.  I got this.

Image result for atlas rockefeller center                                                      Image result for St patrick cathedral jesus statue                                                                                                                   Image result for Christmon globe design             


Jesus gives us peace, if we get to Christmas with no cookies baked, décor hung, gifts wrapped and yet have the love of Christ in our hearts we can share something immeasurably better and more lasting than cookies, decorations or commercial gifts. 

Look at the Chrismon and remember God is in control, Christ came to save us not judge us, remember Christ comes again to judge those who have no need of him.  Admit your need find your peace enjoy your holidays.  God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good. 

Mark your calendar today, today is the day I give it to God, and then mark the next day, and the next…it will get easier, pretty soon judgement day is a piece of cake.  Have a great Advent. Let us pray

Lord of nations come, come into our troubled hearts, calm our anxious spirits, and remind us we don’t have to be the be all, do all, end all this Christmas because we have you: the be all, do all, end all …Lover of our soul, redeemer from our sins, life giver for all eternity. Help us to not only mark our calendar for the commemoration of your birthday but mark every moment of each day as a time to celebrate your gifts and your presence which brings a peace which passes understanding.  Amen.