December 3, 2006

Advent Sunday 1

'The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah

In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.

In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called:
The LORD Our Righteousness.'

Jeremiah 33:14-16

Well, this is the first time I've ever really been excited or involved much with the church calendar. I'm teaching through the Advent season to help prepare our hearts for Christmas. By preparing myself mentally and spiritually for Advent, I've had a much more positive outlook on Christmas. I find the holiday to be more Sacramental than just buying gifts, decorating, and watching lights.

Advent is the beginning of the Christian calendar, extending four weeks before Christmas. Like I said, its a part of the Christian calendar used to prepare our hearts for the coming King, both in birth and eschatologically.

I taught using the Old Testament reading from the lectionary, Jeremiah 33:14-16 quoted above.
Advent is marked by anticipation and waiting on the coming Lord. Our modern churches are so steeped in doing and going, because the assumption is that we have everything we need. This is God's earth, and we work in his Kingdom. The only way we can be successful in God's bidding, is by first waiting, not going. How else can we be prepared if we do not listen to the Father God.

Israel, as a nation, was very acquainted with waiting. Even here in Jeremiah, they must wait for their Messiah. To prepare their hearts, though, is was not a passive waiting, but a time to prepare themselves for the King. Jeremiah 7 speaks of their need to repent of all the wicked things Israel was doing and all the just things they were not.

So, this is our call during the advent season as we wait. We must prepare ourselves by repenting. This is an appropriate response for the arrival of a king. Clear the way! Here he comes!

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