As we hear from Isaiah this morning we get a sense of what happens with an ever-present God. You get good news for the oppressed. You get the broken hearts bound up. Those who mourn are comforted. You get all that and more! What more could we ask for as we climb up on mall Santa’s lap and share our hopes and desires for Christmas morning?
It’s a bit of a contradiction, isn’t it? We have lists on our phones, notepads, or in our heads of all the things we need to do, all the places we need to go and all the presents we need to buy. Then we come to church and hear Isaiah talking about God and what God is up to.
God taking care of hope and forgiveness while we try to keep up with everything makes Advent a jarring reminder to each of us to be kind to ourselves and others. We turn the place blue, we sing ‘Prepare Ye’, and we have some extra candles to light. All reminders that while we have many good and important things to do, we also need to remember to leave room for joy.
With two weeks left to go we need remember to leave room for joy. And that’s the joy of Christ’s birth, not the joy of having survived another holiday season singing Joy to the World as we collapse in exhaustion Christmas morning. Today is the Advent Sunday known as Gaudete Sunday which means rejoice and is represented by the pink candle in the Advent wreath. It reminds us to keep joy in the season. The confirmation class made some greeting cards for us to help remember as well.
There is no extra time allotted to us in the week. There is 168 hours and that’s it. The laws of physics do not allow for changes to that (which in reality is another reason to rejoice). And there are also a number of things which must be done and we’re not allowed to just blow them off, saying ‘meh’! For example, I’m pretty sure I don’t get to decide not to write a Wednesday or Sunday sermon without some consequences for doing so.
With those thoughts in mind, I’m not sure what the exact solution is to the crunch of time and pressure that seem to be part of the Advent, pre-Christmas season. The only thing I can think of is that each of us generally have the ability to make room for a couple of minutes during the day to help our sanity if we remember to do it. Maybe a couple of minutes to read a daily Advent devotion. Lots of them available via email and if you like the printed version there’s some out in the rack in the commons. Remembering to get up and move around a couple of times a day. Physical health matters a great deal to our well being and this time of year can be brutal to our diets, he says getting ready to run to the cookie walk immediately following worship. Remembering to take a minute or two for a conversation with God throughout the day.
Just remember this. Remember to Rejoice. Rejoice Christ the messiah. Rejoice Christ the savior. Rejoice.