Happy (belated) Fourth Sunday in Advent!
For the past three weeks, I’ve tried to ring in Advent with my version of Alan Hirsch’s BELLS: Bless, Eat, Listen, Learn, and Sent.
- Learning to be kind and nice, we share God’s love.
- Learning to be hospitable, we share God’s joy.
- Learning to listen, we share God’s peace.
- Learning more about God and how we’ve been sent, we share God’s hope.
As Alan reminds us, living generous, hospitable, Spirit-led, Christ-like lives enables us to live our faith out in the open for all to see. Living generous, hospitable, Spirit-led, Christ-like lives enables us to become missionaries in our own neighborhoods. We share the Love, Joy, Peace, and Hope of God—the capitalized versions.
But it’s not easy. This morning my first question to my barista was whether the coffee shop would be open Christmas. “You know—I really don’t like going to that other place…”
Kody laughed at my panic when he said they would all be home with their families on Christmas. “But we’ll be open Christmas eve until 4:00 p.m.!” He followed up by asking, “Do you celebrate Christmas?”
And my quick reply? “No, we do church and presents on Christmas eve. I think we’re planning a movie marathon on Christmas day.”
A movie marathon? In response to the question, “Do you celebrate Christmas?” my reply was a quick no? Not only was I stunned by my response, but I was taken aback by the quickness of my response, the “Well, that’s over…” reaction to Christmas festivities.
Last Sunday, our pastor, Robin Dugall, talked about how God changes hearts, how the birth of a Baby in Bethlehem changed everything, changed you and me. God’s love touches us in ways we never could have imagined, in ways seen and unseen, in ways yet to come. Our preparations are not for a single day (or a single evening!) each year. Our preparations are for lives that have been carefully placed amongst His people. We are given unique opportunities as part of His great story, unique challenges, unique blessings, unique gifts, all to His great glory.
Tomorrow I’m going to ask Kody if I might answer his question again.
A Prayer from Paul’s Letter to the Colossians
Heavenly Father, we ask your blessing on this Advent season as we prepare for the birth of your dear Son, Jesus. Help us devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. May You open a door for Your message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ. Help us proclaim it clearly. Help us be wise in the ways we act toward those who don’t know You, making the most of every opportunity every day. Let our words be always full of love, joy, peace and hope.
In the name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.