Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A new kind of Christmas

Luke 21:25  "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26  People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27  Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory. 28  Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." 29  Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30  as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31  So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32  Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 34  "Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35  like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36  Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

I would love to say that I know what is going on here. Some writers claim that this is a prophesy of the second coming of Jesus. Others have said that Luke wrote this after the destruction of Jerusalem, and so he drew on this experience to put these words onto the lips of Jesus.

I do not have the confidence to offer unequivocal explanations on this passage. But I do have an awareness of the irony in meeting these words of Jesus at Christmas:   "Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness“... this because Christmas becomes an excuse for the over indulgence of food, of drink and of newly acquired things – in other words ‘dissipation and drunkenness’. Jesus invites us to “Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things...”  

Let us be challenged to new Christmas practices this year: let us move beyond the immediate escape of alcohol, or food, or new possessions – and instead discover the spiritual satisfaction in standing in a stable / backyard room / shack and offering the glad tidings of comfort and joy.   

God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
For Jesus Christ, our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan's powers
When we were gone astray

Glad tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Glad tidings of comfort and joy

"Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern"   1833 gathered by William B. Sandys. The lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are traditional olde English and are reputed to date back to the 15th century although the author is unknown

Third Sunday in Advent
3.The Coming of Christ
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 26.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.

No comments:

Post a Comment