This weekend marks the beginning of Advent and thus the first week of the new church year. As we begin Advent, we enter with anticipation for the Christmas season. For many young children (or young children at heart) that means looking forward to decorating the tree, the giving and receiving of presents, and Santa and his reindeer. Of course there is also the anticipation of the Sunday School Christmas program, special concerts, lighting of the advent wreath, and singing the well loved hymns and carols. The gospel reading for this first Sunday of Advent pulls that anticipation together to help us focus on what the next four weeks holds for us. It does this by telling us of the apocalypse. Advent and the apocalypse? Really? Yes. It is our reminder to keep awake and alert to God’s activity in this world beyond our human expectations or abilities to understand. It was unexpected and hard to understand why God would come to us in human form, in the form of a baby. And not only a baby, but a baby born in a barn. God continues to exceed our expectations and fill us with wonder. God brings encouragement and hope through a baby born in a stable, through a baby that will grow up to die on a cross and who will rise to new life in order that we may have life everlasting. Unexpected and exceeding expectation. This week, keep awake and alert to God’s activity in the world. As you keep alert, please snap photographs on your cameras or phones and email them to Pastor Shannyn: firstname.lastname@example.org These photos will be shared on this blog because a picture is worth a thousand words. It is worth sharing because P.S. there is a lot for which to stay awake and alert in these days of Advent.
24 “But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.
27 Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. 28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake–for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36 or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”