Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Advent 4

Advent is a four week season that provides is with the opportunity to celebrate the excitement, anticipation and sense of expectation that comes with Christmas.

Not excitement and anticipation because of all the trappings of Christmas that most of us are largely familiar with – Santa sacks, presents, sweet treats, family fun, festivities, fine food, indulgence, holidays, summer, BBQ’s and all those things we associate with a Kiwi Christmas. As good as what they all might be (and obviously this things can all be distorted to actually take away from Christmas rather than add to it), this isn’t what we get excited about during Advent and at Christmas.

The excitement, celebration and anticipations centres on the coming of Jesus...

·         Jesus’ coming 2000 years ago
·         Jesus’ desire to come and work in our lives today
·         Jesus’ coming to restore and to put all things right

Often in our 21st Century context we wait until the New Year to turn over a new leaf, to enter a new chapter in life. Today isn’t they day for that, no way. LOL. But somehow the transition from the 31/12 to 01/01 is the time! Now we’ll lose weight, get fit, take up a hobby, give up a vice, read the bible every day, make church attendance a weekly habit, quit smoking or whatever it might be.  Now is the moment to summon our will power, our mental reserves, to get committed, to find an accountability partner, to psyche oneself up, to turn a new page, starts a new chapter and begin a new life!

It’s a bit crazy that we wait to the 31st December to do this, but it kind of makes sense.

The Christian New Year isn’t January 1 though. The Christian New Year, the Christian Liturgical Calendar, kick starts the New Year at the end of November, the fourth Sunday before Christmas. That’s when we say happy New Year.

Here though we don’t hope that the New Year will bring a new chapter and a different story into reality in our life; we celebrate with excitement and anticipation that a new chapter has begun and will continue to be!

External to our efforts, to our striving, to our will power, to our best intentions, and New Year’s resolutions we celebrate that a new chapter has begin in Jesus Christ. All we have to do is get lost and found in the story of Jesus.

ADVENT – A new chapter is coming, let’s get ready, let’s celebrate.
CHRISTMAS – A new chapter has begun.  

That’s the excitement and anticipation of Advent and of Christmas, there is a new chapter in the story, a new chapter in the story of humanity and there can be a new chapter in the story of my life as well. And that new chapter is here today!

Lost – found
Brokenness and strife – something beautiful
Despair, anxiety, hopelessness – peace, confidence and hope
Pain and heartache – healing and restoration

We sing about this in some of our Christmas carols...

O Holy Night

Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

In all our trials born to be our friends
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease

Joy to the World

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

ADVENT – A new chapter is coming, let’s get ready, let’s celebrate.
CHRISTMAS – A new chapter has begun.  

BAPTISM – we’ve entered into a new story.

We’ve put our faith and trust in Jesus, we’ve turned from living life our own way and we’ve chosen to live in the light of God’s big story, to get lost and found in God’s big story. We die with Christ and we are raised to new life with Christ!

That’s what a Christian is, that’s what a Christ follower is someone who’s whole life is caught up and shaped by God’s big story and the life changing work of Jesus Christ in coming and making a new chapter possible for all humanity.

Look forward to the possibility of a new chapter in your life this Advent.

Celebrate the dawning of a new day, of a new chapter, because of Jesus this Christmas.

Put your faith and trust in Jesus, turn to follow him as King, enter a new chapter in Baptism.

No comments: