Kenneth C. Kroohs
Zechariah 14:4-9; Psalm 50:1-6; I Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-31
I considered beginning with a couple "Happy New Year's" jokes as I do most years. Since today is the first day of the new church year, that would be appropriate, if somewhat overdone. Then I realized that this was the real millennium! So I could re-cycle some old millennium jokes! If the end of the world was scheduled for the end of the year 1999, it makes sense that it would be the end of the church year 1999! So millennium jokes would work!!
Fortunately for you I threw out both those approaches.
Advent is much too important to joke away. Our world, our culture ... that set of influences Jesus continually tells us to reject ... can easily consume us (pardon the pun!) during this season.
Let me suggest there is a positive side to that fact. Elizabeth O'Conner writes about the three falls of man (or human beings). The first one of course is at the Garden of Eden. O'Conner says that the second fall was when the Hebrew people asked God to "give us a king like other nations have". In other words, when the Hebrew people said they would no longer depend on God, but wanted human leadership and authority.
The third fall, in O'Connor's opinion was in the 3rd century after Christ when the Roman Emperor, Constantine, essentially declared Christianity to be the official religion. O'Connor's point .. and many historians and scholars agree ... was that this "fall" was the event that caused Christianity to bend to cultural expectations. Before this, Christianity was an outlaw religion and there was less inclination to succumb to cultural desires. Prior to this fall, Christians had to make a dramatic and clear choice.
Advent can present us with that kind of clear choice. Those 3rd century and later Christians did not have to conform to society -- but were tempted to. We don't need to conform but certainly are tempted!! The focus on material things. The ...
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