Luke 3:1-6 12.10.18
In volleyball, each side is allowed three touches on the ball. Good volleyball players make use of all three touches if they can. The first touch keeps it in the air, and the second touch sets it up for the third touch to drive the point home. The second touch is the setter, a crucial step in any play. The setter does not make the point, doesn’t get all the cheers from the crowd, but the point would definitely not be made without the setter.
John is like the setter on the volleyball team. He sets up the ball so that Jesus can drive home his point. He sets up the crowd so they will be ready to hear and truly follow what Jesus has to say. He is paving the way for Jesus. Think about it– if Jesus had simply shown up one day and people had not been prepared, they likely would not have received his message. Continue reading
12.2.18 Jeremiah 33:14-16
The signs are all around us. When we arrived at our rental condo for our Thanksgiving family gathering last Wednesday, the entrance lobby was decorated with pumpkins and wreaths with orange ribbons. When we left on Sunday morning the pumpkins were gone and there were preparations for Christmas decor being made. Thanksgiving is behind us now. Emotionally,fall is over. It is time to get ready for Christmas. I often bemoan the early jump that the stores make toward Christmas, pushing us to think about gift giving and decorating even before Thanksgiving hits. But in a way, our commercialized society is doing just what the church is calling us to do—creating an extended time to get ready. Target or Amazon or Macy’s—just plug in your favorite store name– want you to get ready to spend money, to meet everyone else’s expectations, to find the newest style or device or toy, which often can stress you out. Advent is the time when the church is calling you to get ready for a birth into something new. Something new is about to happen,and we need to be ready to participate, to receive, to celebrate. Advent means coming. It begins today and marks the four Sundays prior to Christmas as days to get ready for the Coming One. We know that Jesus has already come. That we celebrate again and again. But Advent offers us a time to reflect, to pray, to give thanks, to give time to others. It is really more than getting ready to celebrate Christmas again. It is getting ready for a return of Christ, it is looking forward to a time when this world we inhabit will be a new place, a more just world that is safer,more accessible, fairer, and even a place that empowers those who have been left out in the cold, and I’m not just talking about the weather. We are anticipating the kin-dom of God, the place where our relationships with one another create a more just world for the children in our midst, children of God of all ages and stages of life.