Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Advent Conspiracy Week 1

Here is my confession: I love Christmas! I have already listened to hours upon hours of Chrismas music. I love buying gifts. I love wrapping presents. I am in someways Clark Griswold. Yet I must confess that what I love about Christmas has little to do with Jesus. It is possible to go through another Advent season stressed out, in debt, and totally missing out on the deep gift of this season.

I am not the kind of preacher that is going to tell you to tear down the Christmas tree and throw away all our cultural practices. But I think we should rethink how we spend our time in this season. This season offers us a profound gift to enter into a deeper worship and communion with God. And to miss this communion is a deep loss. Especially if we spend it anxious and stressed out. We do this all in the name of giving a gift that someone won't even use! 

This Sunday we are reading from Luke 1 where Mary has this deep worshipful experience with God. The Advent season begins and ends with worshipping God... nothing more and nothing less. 

Mary has a deep abiding joy simply because God saw her. Although Mary is a celebrity to us... she was at this time a nobody. She was lost in obscurity. She did not think herself to be special. Yet God saw her. She might have been a nobody to the world but she was a somebody to God. 

God saw her. And her response was "here I am." It is in this deep, communal experience with God for which Mary responds in song and worship. 

It changes you when you feel heard and seen. It changed Mary. Yet this experience that Mary had she didn't keep to herself. She celebrated alongside Elizabeth. It is a profound gift to be seen by God. And God calls us to be people that see others otherwise hidden in obscurity. 

My challenge to us this Christmas season is this....
1. As a congregation gives at least $5 a week to our We Care Fund. We will use this money to assist those that attend our food pantry.
2. Visit a shut-in. Be present. Be available. At least once. 
3. Write an encouraging card to someone. Especially to someone that might need an uplifting word. What about someone that had a loss in their family this past year? 

My hope is that we might experience what Mary experienced. We might find that when we are present with someone... that God is present with us. And it is in these moments we experience a deep abiding communion with God.