December 4, 2011
Second Sunday of Advent
2 Peter 3:8-15a
“Can Christmas Be Meaningful?”
Good Morning! Well. . . how are your Christmas preparations coming? I know ours has been a little crazy. We’ve been “decking the halls”. . . making new Christmas decorations. . . etc. Christmas really is a time for family and friends but every time I turn on the TV this week (especially in the den where the girls have “their own space”) I have seen a real different type of attitude. There are commercials for this new thing and that new thing. . . you know. . . the “just gotta have” things. This week. . . I have really taken in consideration the challenges that I set before us last week. . . but it’s been really hard with all the other “outside interferences”. As I challenged us I have tried:
• To deliberately try to re-think Advent in your mind and in your hearts.
• To rethink what Advent really is.
• To deliberately search within ourselves to find that Hope that is within us and to live out that Hope in the world around us.
• To deliberately look for Jesus in the world around us and in those in whom we come in contact with. He’s there; we just have to look.
But it’s been hard to find that peaceful place where I can stop and reflect. I don’t know about you but I really need that peaceful place where I can just sit and be for a while. But it is so hard to find. . .
This is the second week of Advent and it’s the theme of peace. . . my prayer is that we can find that peace. . . or at least know where to look for it. I pray that we will develop the habit of searching out peace and also being that peace for others. As children of God, we really should have that “peace like a river”.
So. . . where do we begin? Well. . . let’s look at the scripture already read for this morning. The Isaiah scripture from this morning, God’s people are in exile and the feel as if they will never get to the other side. They have been there so long that they feel that God has forsaken them because of their sins against Him. But. . . there is hope. The words of Isaiah are words that give them peace. . . they are words of hope for the future. This gives them peace in knowing that one day. . . the Lord their God will set everything right. Their peace is found in God.
In the 2 Peter scripture. . . it tells us that there is hope. It tells us that even though we may think that God is not going to come and save us or even come again as He promised. . . He will come again. You see. . . God’s time table surely is not ours. . . and I know there are many of us here this morning that can attest to that fact. . . but it also tells us what we are to be doing. . . what type of people we should be while we wait. We are to be people of hope. . . people of peace. . . and not just peace on the outside but also peace on the inside.
How do we acquire that peace? Who gives us that peace? I am so glad you asked! Let’s look at Mark 1:1-8 and see what it says about where and who gives real peace. . . who can change our lives so that we can have that peace like a river. . . (Read Mark 1 from the Message Bible)
Our peace come from the inside out. . . our peace is found in Christ Jesus. . . and if we have peace like a river, that peace should flow out from us into and onto those around us. Just think of it. . . if we all let Christ give us that peace and we all let that peace flow out of us we would be treading in the waters of peace and love for those around us. . . there would be no “sharks” or anything else that would threaten our “swim time” only peaceful waters flowing. . .
The question is can Christmas be meaningful? The answer to that questi8on is yes but we have to do our part. We need to:
• Look to God for our peace and hope (as did the Israelites in the Isaiah passage)
• Re-Direct our lives ( We need to let ourselves be changed from the inside out as the Mark scripture tells us that we are changed from the inside out by our Risen Lord)
• And most of all we need to straighten out our lives (as the reading from 2 Peter tells us this morning. . . rethink how we live our lives. . . are they lives that we would want to be living if Jesus came today?)
Yes. . . Christmas can have a new meaning for us. . . it can be a meaningful time when we reflect on our live. But it begins with the first step. . . a step that we each must choose on our own. It can’t be forced. . . we have to really want it in order for it to be a life changing step. As Advent people we need live lives that hope, peace, joy and love just flow out of it into and onto the lives of those around us. During this Advent season, I challenge each of us to make Advent a time of preparation. . . preparing our hearts, our minds and our lives for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday but also for the day of His return. Will we put Christ back into our Christmas preparation or will it just be another day? Will we look heavenward and follow the star or will we follow the lights of the world around us? The choice is yours and mine to make. Which will you choose?
December 7, 2011