Sermon of the Week
On the Way to Christmas: Keep Alert
Keywords: Advent, Mini-Apocalypse, Charlie Brown Christmas, Salvador Dali, Clyde Butcher, The Avengers, Waiting.
Last night we had a great little concert here at The Kirk.
The Don Accurso Orchestra set up here on the chancel
and filled the sanctuary with the classics,
some Duke Ellington, some traditional Christmas music.
It was lovely, particularly since it’s the first Sunday in Advent,
and our wonderful friends on the Worship Team
helped hang the greens in our Sanctuary yesterday morning.
The dessert after wasn’t all that bad either.
I was talking with one of Don’s family members who was here.
Don passed away just a few weeks ago
and this concert had been on his calendar for months.
We know that when Don put a concert on his calendar
they play the concert.
Sometimes contracts follow us even beyond our passing.
I was talking with her about just how fitting it all was,
the music, and the way that the sanctuary looked,
all bedecked with garlands of evergreen and red ribbon
and all the things we do to mark this time of year.
It is such a wonderful time of year, for the most part
even when there are blue moments, for many of us
that make even the most fitting times bittersweet.
And so I’ve been thinking ever since about all the things I love about this season.
We’re not there yet.
Three more Sundays to go until Christmas,
so you still have time to get all your gifts, do all the wrapping
go to all the parties, get your Christmas jammies
and make plans to ponder your New Year’s resolutions.
Lots of time.
But this moment before Christmas, this season of watching and waiting,
this is the season of Advent.
She was asking me if this is my favorite time of year to be a pastor
and that’s a tricky thing to answer,
because there are lots of little things that go on all year
and its hard to pick out a favorite among all of them.
But I told her I do love this time of year.
I love the lights, twinkling in the still darkness,
particularly just a few of them,
like a candle in the window or a luminary on the front sidewalk.
Those are beautiful.
I’m not sure my mind quite can get around
these new massive light displays
which people apparently have to upgrade their electrical box for
so that it can handle all of it.
They’re coordinated with music, using a computer.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re great.
Every year we join a neighbor family and go around town looking at the lights.
We grab some ice cream first and map out a trip.
There are websites where you can find “the best lights”.
For example, I recommend that you find Candy Cane Lane.
Some of them even broadcast the music they’re flashing to
on a local radio transmitter
and you can pull up close and tune your radio just right
and listen and watch and marvel at everything
flashing blue and white and red and green
in complete coordination to Mannheim Steamroller or the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
But for me it’s the simple display, a few lights here and there
braving the dark nights of December
that give me pause,
that take my breath away this time of year.
And I love the classic movies on TV:
sure, It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street
but also Elf and A Christmas Story and a Charlie Brown Christmas.
Actually, the music last night reminded me a lot of a Charlie Brown Christmas,
and I could close my eyes and see Charlie and Lucy and the gang
walking around looking for just the right tree.
There are a lot of things I love about this time of year.
You probably have your own things, too:
Hot chocolate with marshmallows.
Putting ornaments on the tree.
Baking Christmas cookies or decorating gingerbread houses.
We all seek out our hallmark card moments
even as we know our lives are more complex and messy than that.
But what I don’t like very much is the waiting. [Read more…]