Before Christmas, we enter the season of Advent in church life. The season of Advent is filled with expectation, preparation and anticipation. All of the hub-bub of getting ready for Christmas – we do this in our decorating of the house and community, giving and receiving gifts, enjoying parties and dinners with family and friends. Most importantly we do this to prepare, expect and anticipate the arrival of Jesus, God incarnate (made flesh), in the world. Our priority and inner most excitement should come from getting ready, then receiving Jesus into our hearts and into the world.
The sermon series for Advent will consider the idea of “If Only…” which explores possibilities of a different type of world. We will hear from prophets who dream of these possibilities, then hear the voice of God leading them.
If Only … in the past tense looks back to what could have been. EXPECTATIONS from the past recall what has happened in the past that could be changed or happened differently to result in a better outcome for the present and future. As we EXPECT Jesus, we can pray for and work toward an existence that is more just and loving than the past has been.
If Only … in the present tense acknowledges today and seeks to improve. PREPARATIONS sometimes need to be made to welcome a new reality. As we live through the Advent season this year, let us make the necessary preparations in our hearts and lives to receive a greater presence of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. We prepare for Jesus with prayer, reading the Bible, meditating upon the nudging of the Spirit and living as examples of Jesus in the world.
If Only … in the future tense dreams forward to what is possible. ANTICIPATION is an act of faith. All of the work in the world will not result in the extent of the possibilities of God’s preferred future. By faith we live and speak and act in ways that bring about the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven. By faith we believe that God will do even greater than we can anticipate for our future.
This Advent season, let us, together, EXPECT greater than our past, PREPARE for greater in our present, and ANTICIPATE greater from God in the future.