When I was a child I loved traveling during the Christmas season. It meant experiencing the holiday even more special to do it with people I only saw a few times a year. I have plenty of stories I could share about those few days with family during the Christmas season (and on Sunday you will hear a great one!!!).
We associate Christmas with simpler times. We even make the journey home, to those places and relationships that signify simpler times. We go home to Grandma’s, see family, and talk about the last year. We relax in the company of those we love and care about.
Part of the spiritual season is celebrating the coming of Christ to our world. Since we celebrate a God who comes to our world both fully human and fully divine, God himself came home for Christmas. Another dimension to our reflection and worship during the Christmas season is at the center of Christian belief–that Jesus Christ is coming again and we are looking forward to it. Christ is coming home, to relationships and an environment with people he loves.
Coming Home for Christmas is our conversation theme this Advent at New Song. We are going to do some silly things, some serious things and some things for others. But the big thing is us thinking about what does it mean for Jesus to come home, here on our earth for Christmas.
Our Scripture for this first Sunday is a prophecy from Isaiah.
Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,
“Clear the way through the wilderness
for the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland
for our God!
Fill in the valleys,
and level the mountains and hills.
Straighten the curves,
and smooth out the rough places.
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
The Lord has spoken!”
O Zion, messenger of good news,
shout from the mountaintops!
Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.
Shout, and do not be afraid.
Tell the towns of Judah,
“Your God is coming!”
Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.
He will rule with a powerful arm.
See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
God wants to come a clear a path through all of the mess of our life straight to him. He wants us to be making this path as well.
Scripture tells us of a God who is making a straight path for His people to follow. His people are also called to begin clearing that path themselves. The best way for us to encounter God is to begin preparing ourselves for when he comes.
It is easy to blindly celebrate Jesus during this season. I imagine Christmas is probably the easiest time of the year to be outwardly Christian. We have baby Jesus in mangers, wisemen, angels…the whole nine yards. But how often to we take a moment to actually pray and think over why each of us desperately need Jesus to come into our world. How often do we let God tell us the areas in our life where Jesus needs to come and live.
When we truly know exactly where we need Jesus to come, both for all of humanity and how he has in the past as well as how we need him to right now for us as well as for the full salvation and redemption of this world, we will understand what it means to hope. We will understand what we need to be doing to clear this path.
So we start off this advent thinking about the coming of Christ. The coming of God into our world. About that time in the past and the time in the future when God Himself will be coming home for Christmas.
See you in worship this Sunday!
Chad Brooks - January 5, 2014
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