Monday, November 29, 2010

Change for Christmas?

What do you want for Christmas this year? No really? What do you long for this year? Advent focuses on anticipating and preparing for the coming of Jesus, the Christ. This sense of anticipation and preparation covers all three dimensions of time. We look back to see and learn from the manner in which the first century people longingly anticipated and prepared for the first coming of the Messiah. We too long for One whom will arrive and change our current situation. We also look now for ways in which the Anointed might appear in our current circumstances. We look for Christ’s presences in our current situation, in our current pain, in our current joy. We also expect and get ready for a future manifestation of the Christ of God in a world that still needs comforting, healing and reconciliation. In a basic human sense we all hold and anticipation of Christ’s arrival to change our current situation, we look closely to see Christ presently in our current situation, and we prepare ourselves for God’s comfort, healing, and reconciliation. That is what most of us really want for Christmas.

As we read and recall the stories of Advent, we must not forget John the Baptist. John the Baptist was a man of passion and conviction, who was not afraid to speak the truth. Unfortunately, speaking the truth and popularity don’t always go hand in hand and John paid the price for standing up for truth. In the gospel of Matthew, Matthew often refers his readers to references in the Hebrew Scriptures to help them to make link between the “Old” and the “New” Testaments. During Advent, he identifies John with the “voice crying in the wilderness” foretold in the Book of Isaiah. Despite his strange appearance or maybe even because of it, the crowds are drawn to see him and are convinced by his preaching. Many choose to be baptized. Others are attracted too. We are wrong to suppose that all the Pharisees and Sadducees were hostile to the preaching of John and later of Jesus. Many were hostile but some were curious and tried to understand how it related to the scriptures and teaching they had grown up with and loved. John’s challenge to them is to change. Change their way of thinking, change their current attitude, change they way they treat each other, and change the way they behave inside and outside the church. When we reflect on what we want for Christmas, what we really want let us focus on what we need to change about ourselves to receive that gift. How can be the link between to “old” and the “new”? Christ is coming, are you ready for the change?

See ya in church but until then take care of yourself and one another.


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