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Download Sermon for the 1st Sunday of ADVENT on 29th November HERE

Advent Sunday

Well today is Advent Sunday, which marks the beginning of the season of Advent, as we prepare for the coming of Jesus into the world and into our lives.

Jesus of course is already in our lives. Today we gather in him, whether on Zoom or in the quietness of our own prayers, we hear God’s Word and share in spiritual communion as members of Christ’s body.

For many of us, this year in our various separations, has perhaps made us appreciate what we’ve got and how much more we want to make of it, in all aspects of life. Not least in our Christian faith. Because let’s face it, we can easily take the good things for granted, so that they become just comfortable things rather than great things that enhance our lives and the lives of others. Jesus can sometimes slip into this category when we maybe unintentionally demote him and lower him down the pecking order of what we think is special to us. So why not use this Advent, this time of waiting and expectation, as an ideal time to think about the specialness of the Jesus story, a story that hasn’t finished yet, because Jesus continues to come into our lives. Lives that change in him!

Before Jesus was born, there were many in the nation of Israel, who were waiting for a messiah to come along and change their lives. This messiah would unite the tribes of Israel and overthrow the foreign powers that occupied their land.

But Jesus in the course of his life and ministry, didn’t quite go about his messiahship in this way, because it is essentially a worldly way. The way that powerful earthly leaders do things, with their armies and wealth and influence.

Jesus power however, came from a different place. It was a power that came from heaven, more powerful and mighty than anything the world can produce. In Isaiah we hear today. ‘ O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence- as when the fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil.’ Those words are certainly a reminder of God’s power! And yet this very same power was manifested to the world through the birth of a baby, born into poverty to earthly parents. God chose Mary to be the one who would conceive by the Holy Spirit and bear a Son. The Son of God! God who gave life to the world, demonstrates that he is the power and source of all life, as he becomes the God who is with us in the birth of Jesus.

So why did God do this? We might ask. He did it because he loves us. Through Jesus the Son, God would know what it’s like to be human. He would be along side us, sharing our human nature and experiencing on the ground, our falleness and sinfulness. In the incarnation, God the Father showed that he was prepared to leave behind the safety of heaven and be vulnerable with us and yet all powerful.

For God shows his power through humility and vulnerability and love. It was through these things that God in Jesus showed how much he loved us by laying down his life for us, that we might be reconciled to the Father, through the blood his Son shed on the Cross.

A crucified body, a broken body, that was and is life giving. Not just for this life, but for eternal life. A life that God wants us to have.

A life we need to prepare ourselves for, so that we are ready when he comes to us, as the baby in the manger; as the Galilean teacher who shows us what God is like, as the comforter by our side when we are broken; as the Good Shepherd who searches for us and guides us and leads us to the Kingdom.

So let us as we hear in our gospel. ‘Beware, keep alert’. Let us this Advent like the doorkeeper, be on the watch and ‘keep awake-for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn,’

But come to us he will. So let’s be ready for him, and not miss out, for his coming into our lives is far too good to sleep through!
Amen.

 

Download Sermon for the 1st Sunday of ADVENT on 29th November HERE