Resources, Sermons

Be Still?

Advent is a favorite of mine in the church year, but it is also when the Church and the world may be at odds the most.

Advent is a time of preparation that prepares our homes, hearts, and souls to welcome Christ. But, any time we prepare to welcome guests our life gets a little crazy.

So, it is not a surprise that December seems to be the busiest month for all of us.
We are busy preparing for Christmas with lights, trees, and presents.
We are busy preparing for loved ones to visit us OR for us to visit loved ones.

AND that is above and beyond our normal, everyday responsibilities that we cannot simply walk away from be it work, school, or loved ones.

And yet, the Church in scriptures and tone is quite the opposite calling for us to be still, to be quiet, to be patient and await the arrival of Christ.

There was a magnet in the kitchen of my home church that read:
“Look busy! Jesus is coming!”

This summarizes every Advent… Look busy! Jesus is coming!

Honestly, Advent itself is a paradox.
This First Sunday in Advent the scriptures are about the Second Advent (Coming) of Christ, thus we read of the end of the world and time. Again, these are not pleasant.

It does build on another paradox of our Christian faith that with chaos, destruction, and death comes order, a new creation, and new life… BUT we still do not (as a whole) look forward to the end times. Although we pray for it to come each week in the Lord’s Prayer, we do not want to live through the gloomy trials of chaos, destruction, and death.

We prefer to celebrate the First Coming of Christ as the baby in the manger, who we can more easily see hope, peace, joy, and love.

But in Advent, we embrace a Third Advent (or Coming) which is not often discussed.
It is every single day between the First Advent and the Second Advent.
It is when our hearts are made still and cozy for the light of Christ to break into it.

How can we make our hearts still and cozy, especially when our “Things To Do” list is crazy?

First, do not try to look busy simply to “look busy” because “Jesus is coming”.
We do not need to add more ‘busyness’ to our lives, instead Advent asks us to prioritize.

  • Where should our attention and focus be?
  • Where should we put out time and energy?

We prioritize in order to carve out time to be still allowing our hearts (and souls) to be open listening for Christ.

Can we carve out time to focus on peace, hope, joy, love, and finally the light that is Christ?

  • It goes against our world.
  • It goes against our “Things to Do” list.
  • It goes against our busy schedules.

But when Christ returns (Second Advent), he does not want to find us ‘busy’ especially for the sake of being ‘busy’. Christ wants to find us still, open, and ready to simply be in relationship with Him, which requires our time and energy.

This is not easy for us, but this Advent (basically 3 weeks this year) find the time, even if it is once a day or once a week to be still, prepare yourself (heart and soul) to welcome Christ as your guest.

The bulletin boards were redone this week to include Advent resources, including calendars. Whatever your schedule will allow, find time to be still and prepare yourself for Christ to return.

Scriptures were Jeremiah 33: 14-16 and Luke 21: 25-36
Originally preached on 2 Dec. 2018 at Trinity Lutheran (Union City, IN).

A Simple Form for Household Prayers in the Seasons of Advent and Christmas

Advent at Home

Advent Faith Practices

Advent Photo Devotional

Advent of Kindess

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