Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sun. Dec. 5, 2010 (Karl Brown)

On the Second Sunday of Advent, Karl Brown encouraged us to take a moment each day to think about the meaning of Christmas, using the day's lectionary readings to guide us. The theme in the reading from Isaiah, for example, speaks of the wolf and lamb living in a type of peace which is too good to be true (and likely would not work for long throughout the animal kingdom which requires predators to control large populations of smaller animals). Psalm 72 speaks of a Utopia in which peace and justice combine to produce abundance for all. Romans 14 is about welcoming and encouraging, about the gospel being made available to Gentiles, and about harmony between all peoples. Unfortunately, the Gentiles did indeed receive the gospel but they then proceeded to persecute the Jews for centuries to come. But back to the central question: What makes Christmas be Christmas? Although peace is a central theme, believers certainly have observed Christmas when there was no peace, when they were in the midst of military conflict and stress--and yet it was still Christmas. Since societies are only rarely truly fully just, poor people continue to abound, yet some of them really do experience Christmas, in spite of living within societies which make their lives difficult. Lacking family harmony will spoil many Christmas gatherings, yet it is nevertheless Christmas in their minds. Of course most people would not miss repentance as part of Advent because it is no longer mentioned as an integral part of our fasting and preparation for the Feast of Christmas. The bottom lines suggests that Christ's salvation is absolutely crucial to the concept of Christmas. Take that element away and the church's glorious feast deteriorates into one long lavish series of secular December indulgences. Ideally, Christmas is seen as springing forth from our being people of peace, a people promoting true justice, living in harmony with each other, and being truly repentant and thankful for Christ's salvation. [JEK] Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, December 5th, 2010 using your browser's preferred media player.



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