First Sunday of Advent – Series C
Is the Sunday after after Black Friday a sort of Easter? Monday will Cyber Monday. This is starting have a liturgical cast to it. These are becoming holidays/holy days. How do we incorporate the culture we live in into our worship lives without succumbing to the culture of materialism and consumerism? We dare not light the first candle this week and call it the “Walmart Candle” and then next week add the “Target Candle.” Jesus is clearly not for sale, but he is walking the malls and noticing the people in the marketplace. The culture is in full Christmas here – we need to let Advent be that. Our culture celebrates Christmas in the home, not in Church. How do we let that good thing happen? How do we bring that cultural expectation into our worship? Do we have families particularly involved in worship?
We light that first candle in the Advent wreath this Sunday. A new year and a new pericope cycle is upon us. The Gospel of Luke occupies our attention primarily this year. Its themes of Jesus’ love for little, least and lost people, its portrayal of Jesus for all humanity, its decided emphasis upon the order and reign of God will be important to what we have to say.
But this is Advent I. We light that one little candle in the darkness of December. Jesus seems far away as we do that. The light will grow. Jesus will draw nearer as the season progresses, but today we are in a dark place with one little candle lit. It feels like the darkness will overwhelm us. The news is not good which comes through the pages of our papers and the screens of our televisions and computers. The darkness seems to be winning.