Monday, December 22, 2008

Advent Article 2008

Christmas Time is Here…

As we rush headlong toward Christmas 2008, we cannot escape the obvious impact the current economic climate will have this year. However, I have a prediction to make: We will still witness an excess of over-indulgence. Advent, for us who keep the Christian year, is the antidote to the madness of the mall, the straight line to Christmas and the madly rushing train which rides on it. Advent is the time when the prophets call us to take stock of ourselves, to decide how ready we are for the coming of the Christ child ... and not in terms of whether the presents are bought and the turkey stuffed.

Advent is sacred time, God's time, time to get ready for the return of the Light – and it is present time. It is the time for listening to the prophets who tell us how far we have strayed from God's plan for us, and for sincere and prayerful change. For us who live in the part of the globe in darkness at this time of the year this is especially acute. Regardless of the twinkling lights and the glitter in the mall, the darkness is out there all around us. We would do well to heed the prophets now. They are telling us what is missing, and it is terrifying. They are telling us how far we have strayed from the loving circle of God's sacred time, and they are calling us back into it from the darkness. We would do well to heed them, especially at this time of year when the wheel is turning again, and the child is waiting to be born.

We would do well to begin again in this Advent season, to look clearly into the darkness and the cold out there and pray and work for a decent and warm and orderly place for the baby to come into; to make ready in our hearts and minds a place for the Christ Child to come once again. This is the task of Advent, indeed of all our time as Christians. The prophets are right: we must be ready, and the time is short.

Grace and peace,
Pastor James