Monday, November 26, 2012

“I See Christmas”

   Walking through the wide corridors of the mall, the little girl, with mother in tow, screams out, “Mommy, I see Christmas.” I looked up to see to what she was referring. I saw lights, garland, ornaments, a tree, and even reindeer. For a girl her age, this was certainly Christmas. 
   Of course, it was only November 14th, but why wait? Retailers don’t wait. Advertising, decorating, and discounting begins in October. Radio stations have been “all in” for Christmas for five weeks, already. This year, some large retailers started Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving day in an effort to gain early access to the wallets and purses of Americans. No one is waiting these days. 
   The truth is that most of the time I don’t mind any of that. But the church has a different way of marking time. Listen to my friend, Mark Westmoreland, a United Methodist pastor in Fayetteville;

As the whole world screams “Christmas”, the church speaks, in a calm, even prayerful, voice, “Advent.” As the world shouts “It’s here!” we say, “We await him.” Advent is a time to consider our need for Christmas and the salvation that comes with the one who is “God with us.” Advent is a time of waiting in the promises of God. But waiting isn’t easy. So, in our impatience, we are tempted to skip Advent…. This year, let’s try to trust the great story.

   This Sunday, let us also be those asking for the whole story of Christmas. Let us be reminded about how important it is to wait, to prepare, to be ready. That is the message of 
Advent: four weeks of preparation for the coming of a Savior. So when our children finally exclaim, “I see Christmas,” we’ll all know the true meaning has nothing to do with what’s found under a tree. This is exactly what we are going to deliver on in the sermon series, The Thrill of Hope. We mailed out postcards to our neighbors and gave them to you to invite people to hear the Good News at a time when news that is really good is in short supply. The Christmas message is amazing and wonderful. It is even worth waiting for....
   Grace and Peace to you, Scott

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