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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Advent 1C

"Happy New Year!" This is how I intend to greet my parishioners on Sunday morning. I shall then watch them look at me quizzically while they wonder if I had just a little too much wine on Thanksgiving.

I love the first Sunday of Advent. I love purple, I love the wonder and the waiting, I love exchanging the "Year B" books on my desk for the "Year C" ones. My congregation? Not so much. They want to dive headlong into Christmas. (Okay, not all of them, but many, and they are vocal.)

I often find myself in the role of cheerleader on the first Sunday of Advent, trying to convince the congregation that this year, Advent will be Magical! It'll be so cool, you'll want it to last longer.


So once agan this year I'm stuck trying to preach Advent 1 in a way that doesn't sound apologetic, as in , "Sorry for everybody who showed up hoping to hear 'O Come All Ye Faithful'. Let's sing a rousing chorus of 'Comfort, Comfort Ye My People' instead. One more Sunday of this, and you get to see the cute little kiddos do their Christmas pageant, I promise."

The Lukan lection this week seems to paint a picure of expectation. I believe my best chances lie therein.

How about you this week?


  1. I'm definitely going with Luke. I plan on talking about signs, and the signs of our times telling us that the world needs Jesus more than ever.

  2. I am going with signs stuff too. My early thoughts (which don't seem to amount to much yet) are up at the church blog

    I am thinking that we should be constantly looking for God breaking into our world rather than some spectacular SEcond COming as is so often described. AFter all, the First Coming wasn't quite what people were looking for either.

  3. I don't have to preach this Sunday.
    Fa la la la la la la la la. :-)

    In fact, I only preach one Sunday all month - there's the Hanging of the Greens, the Christmas Musical, the Christmas cantata (and why they have to do both, who knows?) and the 5th Sunday Celebration of members. Hope I still remember how come January!

  4. This is totally random, but how fun would it be to have a new year's party with the youth group for the Saturday night before Advent?

  5. ppb are you volunteering to lead the Youth New Year's party and stay up all night?!!!?
    I'm looking to work with both Jeremiah and Luke.
    I enjoy the lighting of the Advent Candle each week.
    This year, my children's sermons will most likely be the highlight each week as we talk about a different animal each week and put a handful of straw in the manger.
    On the 24th , each child will get to pick a straw ornament as a reminder of our Advent lessons and the manger that cradled the Christ child. Christmas Eve, I'm wrapping the communion bread in white linen cloth and laying it in the manger on the communion table. Christ is the Bread of Life that brings life and is life. That's about all I have for now.

  6. Thankfully, our congregation is cool with Advent, and likes the preparation before Christmas. We build up to Christmas by slowly building up the decorations. (Maybe it's also because we are too busy to get to it all at once?)

  7. PPB-
    Just got through reading about a New Year's Eve Celebration in a youth book. You ahve noise makers, balloon drop, and sing Auld Lang Syne. Does anyone actually know the words?????
    Anyhow, you also pass the peace at mnidnight instead of the traditoanl hug. kiss.
    I also think you might could work in a toast with sparkling grape juice. Not sure if that would be offensive to some.
    I am not preaching until next Sunday, but in looking at Luke text, I also like the signs. You can do a lot about how we know certain times are approacing. Yes, even when the Dollar Store puts out Christmas decor the day after Labor Day, the signs of a coming season, the signs of an event.
    Signs bring comfort to some, anxiety to others, fear for some and peace for another. We know the kingdom of God is near (or at hand), redemption comes.This is cool text. Love the astrological stuff too!

  8. should old acquaintance be forgot
    and never brought to mind
    should old acquaintace be forgot
    and days of auld lang syne
    for auld lang syne my dear
    for auld lang syne
    we'll take a cup of kindness yet
    for auld lang syne.

    (there are other verses as well but this is the one traditionally sung on New Year's)--have to keep my geek credentials up you know

  9. Ooh! Let me spread the word about the Christian Calendar. On their ordering website, they have suggestions for celebrating this Saturday night as Christian New Year's Eve.

    I've got some worship stuff to get in place before I can start thinking about a sermon. But the theme I came up with a while back was TIME. All our lessons seem to spin around this idea of time, and what ARE the signs of the times?

  10. I am working on a sermon series (suggested to me by the wonderful Deb!!), focusing on Isaiah 9:6. Since I have yet to do a sermon series in my year at this church, we shall see how it goes.

    Cheesehead -- your 'wine' story is fabulous, btw... :)

  11. I've got strep, and therefore, I got nuthin'.
    We are doing Hanging of the Greens, and then there's Communion, so I'm thinking anything I preach needs to be s.h.o.r.t. But at the moment, even doing the bulletin (which is basically the same as last year's), feels like too much to handle. I'll check back in tomorrow and let you know if I have an idea.

  12. I have a meditation on 1 Thessalonians all ready, which should be posted Sat or Sun.

  13. I am working to fold us into the Advent season...and like someone already mentioned, expectancy seems to be the name of the game. But I am going to use the lense of "hope" and U2's song, "Peace on Earth." I will likely play it on my guitar.

    It's also Communion Sunday. Oy. Much to prepare for.

  14. Speaking of "oy - much to be done," I'm still trying to figure out how it's already Advent. Didn't we just get done with All Saints?

    Between two funerals last week and nightly rehearsals for the community theater production this weekend, I'm just now getting started on Advent preparation. No thoughts as of yet other than "YIPE!"

  15. I'm preaching back-up (our head pastor's dad died last week...), and only have 10 minutes because we are packing in 5 baptisms and communion. So I'm looking at Luke & Jeremiah, and thinking about how God controls and orders time, how our beginnings in baptism are connected to our endings in God's embrace, and that wonderful phrase from Luke "your redemption draws near."

    But you know what I wish I could do? A series on eschatology. I've had several conversations with people in my congregation in the last few weeks where they've said they wish they knew more about it, they are confused by all the stuff in Christian pop-culture about it, and I'm more and more convinced that we main-line types ignore or shy away from it. So, if I could do the whole advent shebang, I'd be all over that. But I know I can't pack it all into 10 minutes. Sigh...

  16. Not preaching this week, just popping in to lament the way Advent has morphed into extended Christmas. Also to say I'm wild about the New Year's Eve idea, think it would be fun for adults too.

  17. We've got, besides Advent, a potentially explosive congregational meeting and World AIDS Day.

    Any one of those would be plenty.

    I'm thinking of either the 1 THess reading or Luke. Probably Luke.

    I'll let you (and the musician and bulletin preparer) know sometime later...

  18. See, I go thinking I have a great new idea, and it's already out there. I probably read it somewhere and internalized it and then thought it was mine. Good thing I'm not a student anymore. I'd be a heck of a plagiarizer.

  19. I'll be the odd one out and say I've already chosen to do the Jeremiah passage. But, that's all I have, which as you can see is nothing. Oh, and a title: "Waiting." I'm waiting for some inspiration...

  20. Dear All- I preached last week, and told everyone it was the end of teh year- I just got quizzical looks....the other intern is preaching this week, and says he's going to go in with party hat and noise maker! Advent is my favorite time of about singing the "O" antiphons instead of O Come All Ye least for the first 2 weeks? Blessings- Nancy

  21. I am not preaching this weekend....My spouse will be doing that! I will be at a denominational meeting all day saturday in NYC. We are gearing up feverishly for our annual open house which we hold after worship on the 2nd Sunday in December. Can you say clean, clean, and more cleaning? Eeeeh Gad it's a mess.This is the one time a year we give everybody the run of the parsonage so that they can see we're not tearing it up. However having a teenager who's mainly uncooperative about his room may lead to a serious backfire. How many dirty clothes can you pile up in one place? I say string lights on that baby and tell everybody it's a tree.

  22. I'm not preaching this week, but I did talk about the end of the church year when I preached Sunday.

    But I think we Episcopalians have it a bit easier when it comes to Advent. Folks know there is NO CHRISTMAS until Christmas Eve.

    I did have to explain to our parish administrator why we couldn't put a Christmas tree in the church office this week. We compromised with a Jesse tree.

  23. Thanks Gord! Love your geek creds. I have never known the words. I had a 33 1/3 record with it on it (when i was a wee child) and never could understand the words!
    Oh, the Cradock qoute goes of last week ( i think)goes along great with your thoughts re: second coming.
    Tripp. Why dont you come to Bama and do U2 song here?
    Songbird. Get well soon!!!!
    I have spent day preparing for Advent Workshop...cutting out, organizing, finding stuff and copying patterns. Came home to wine and chex mix and watched my new tree lights of last year's sale/ Ahhh......

  24. And 11 PM kitty decided to attack tree and over it went. Only two broken ornaments (both sale items from Pier 1) so no great heart ache. Took an hour to get soem order back and so later I will redo tree.
    Must share this one. After childrens final practice (before musical) at a church recently everyone clapped and one child wanted to bow, but he director told them, "No, when we do music in church, who gets all the glory?"
    Everyone was quite nad then one child said, " You do!"

  25. In Finland there is a tradition of Singing Hosianna Son of David on Advent Sunday.

    words here:
    (also in English)

    I love it. But I'm not going to our church this Sunday because it's the Christmas party. Sigh.

  26. Gord,

    I am thinking that we should be constantly looking for God breaking into our world rather than some spectacular SEcond COming as is so often described. AFter all, the First Coming wasn't quite what people were looking for either.

    love that thought :) Blessings!

  27. I'm going to blog about this this week...I love Advent as a peaceful, thoughtful antidote/counterweight to pre-Christmas craziness in the secular world, but I see more and more liturgical churches giving up the fight to remain apart from the Christmas juggernaut. I'm not sermonizing or doing our Prayers of the Church this week, but if I were I might somehow spin the lessons into an affirmation of Advent as a "safe space" where we can stay focused on the signs of the Reign of God breaking through...where we don't lose Jesus in the holiday shuffle.

  28. Oh! Oh! I just had a thought. Think about losing a kid in a crowded mall....or being the lost kid...losing your bearings in the crush of people and carnival of distractions. Wouldn't that be a great metaphor for ourselves this season?

  29. Yet again, I find myself preaching on the Second Coming.

    I'm preaching from Jeremiah and 1 T, talking about God's promises and how though we may trust them, we may not understand them (even if we think we do). Jeremiah - we look and say "hey, Jesus" but good and faithful Jewish people looked and said "hey, king to get us our nation-state back." God promised but perhaps faithful ancients didn't fully get it.

    So - Christ's coming again - we've got various descriptions throughout the NT but we can't clasp them to our respective bossoms and claim we KNOW. Instead, we have to buck each other up (here's where 1T comes in) as we await.

    Feels a little odd at the moment but I'm sure I'll work it out.

  30. lutheranchik, i love the thoughts about a kid getting lost in the crowd. i'm not preaching this week, as the intern i only preach once a month, but have been looking at the lectionary since it will shape our adult bible study during the advent season.

    happy new year to all!

    Dancing with God

  31. I have had that New Year's party with youth groups before!

    This year we'll be having the Confirmation-kickoff on Sunday evening and it is a New Year's theme.

    The theme for Advent here is "waiting for the new thing God is doing" or something like that (o how original, i know...). The children's sermon this week (all the sermonizing I do until Advent 4) is about New Year's. woohoo!

    We messed up the lectionary (once on purpose and once accidentally) so this week we are having Jeremiah 31.31-34 rather than 33. and next week we have the Magnificat 1 (because it's the text for the cantata). oy. All I know so far is the "new thing" business. So....I got nothing. Sorry. :-)

  32. Ooh... Esperanza. I'm with you- preaching Jeremiah- but I haven't got much. Its been a heavy week in the community a lot of deaths of young/middle aged people- not in our congregation, but... known folks in the community dying tragically. In light of the context into which this little book of comfort in Jeremiah was written I think its an appropriate text for us right now. I guess from my minimal study today I'm struck by the fact that this bit of Jeremiah was written maybe a hundred years later- new time, same despair in the air. When Jesus was born- new time, same despair in the air. And now- new time, same despair in the air. And into this breaks hope... a new shoot... a promise... struggling with this one...

  33. OOh I love these advent thoughts. where were you all when I was struggling with advent in previous churches that wanted christmas now!

    I am going with the I Thess. passage, using some thoughts from Homiletics Online. I'll post some of the ideas on my blog as we go along.

    Alex, I did a sermon series on Isaiah 9:6 for advent one year, the congregation got a lot out of it. Mike Slaughter did one, one year also at Ginghamsburg Online, check it out there.

    1-4 grace, my kitty did the same thing one year. No broken ornaments, but it dumped the tree water out on wrapped presents, and ruined one of them which was a calligraphy. There after we tied the tree up.

    I just have this feeling that I would love to be in all your churches this Sunday to hear the good news!

    Happy New Year everyone!


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