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1st Sunday in Advent

Today this first Sunday in advent, we are called to “prepare”! …….. For what? ………...the coming of our lord……. When?…….at Christmas!


In the incarnation! “that grand act whereby the son of God assumed human nature, without losing his divine nature; the mystery by which Jesus Christ, the eternal word, was made man to accomplish the work of our salvation.”


What have you done in preparation? ……….and/or what are you going to do in preparation?  First the problem ……………..then the solution


The secular world has been making preparations since before Halloween. Every year the Christmas season begins a littler earlier. Or should I say the holiday season because the secular world has stolen our lord’s birthday! 


In the old days, the very old days, the church did not celebrate Christ birthday, until his birthday at Christmas.  Then followed, the real celebration, the 12 days of Christmas which came after his birth and lasted until epiphany.


The preparations in the secular world keep moving up, first after thanksgiving, then this year before Halloween. The Christmas lights and decorations started appearing, Christmas sales were even earlier. Black Friday became dark Thursday. (remember black Friday used to be the Friday after thanksgiving, now it begins in most stores, the Wednesday before thanksgiving and they never close (in honor of our lord’s birth) …………… sarcasm


Anything to get a few extra bucks and take advantage of his birthday. Don’t be surprised if in our lifetime secular Christmas preparations begin the day after Christmas and it is year-round sales, secular, holiday event.

Hum! ………...not a bad idea for practicing Christians to make preparations daily, throughout the year, for Christ coming, at his second advent, the end of this world or our death whichever comes first. We call those daily devotions.


So, what’s my point? …………………. This nation and the secular, humanistic society, have lost the true spirit and meaning of Christmas or I should say replaced it. And the birth of the saviour has been overtaken with the secular world of money, money and more money. What is the currency in heaven?


I read an interesting article in a religion column recently, in the earthly church today there is a new emphasis upon personal experience and feeling. The author read an article talking about something called “sola feels” (like in sola scripture (meaning standing alone). Sola feels! He said he thought surely, this is a spoof, but sadly the truth of it is more widespread than we think.


The article explained that an influential group of the nation’s top progressive evangelical authors, speakers and bloggers recently met in Portland Oregon, to draft the doctrine of “sola feels”. It means and teaches that all spiritual truths only become true once they are filtered through and accepted by our feelings. Thus, the things that make us feel bad are wrong and the things that give us a happy feeling are true.


Whoa! You cannot base your salvation on feelings they are vulnerable to the devil’s twisting and misuse. Our salvation is not based on whether we feel saved, or feel good or are prosperous, but upon God’s sure word and promise of our salvation with the promises that Christ and Christ alone has saved us from ourselves and our sins. See the mess we have gotten ourselves into. Only one way out and that is Jesus Christ


Now to the solution! To you the practicing Christians! “prepare ye the way of the lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God”

What if I told you this is the last advent season, to prepare for Christ coming again…… because he will!


As believing, committed, practicing Christians we should already be praying daily, reading God’s word daily, and loving our fellow man daily attending church weekly and receiving the sacraments.  Our preparation should be to focus and spend more time in prayer, bible study and following the great commandment, loving God completely and our neighbor as self.


Think about this, the number or Christmas’s you will or have celebrated is but a second in the scheme of things or time, compared to eternity.

The bottom line question for advent or for that matter, for year-round, is why would you want to spend time in eternity with Jesus when you spend so little time with him on earth.


For those who are beginners or pray, read scripture and love your neighbor occasionally or when it is convenient, advent is a good time to get in the program of truly following our lord.  And for those that already are serious practicing Christians, daily prayer, bible study (following Christ teachings being mirrors of our lord,) then I call upon you to up your game. Increase your daily devotions, add to your Christian life.


Now listen carefully, I am not casting the first stone nor am I going to try to remove the tiny speck in your eye while I have this big log in mine.  But come on folks, we can all do better! Me included.  How much time do we spend driving to work, how much time at the gym, how much time watching sports, watching tv, eating, sleeping. How much time to we actually spend wasting time.  When I quit watching fox news as much, I was amazed at the free time I had. Besides if I wait a week or to, it will be the same news.


When I did financial planning, in my previous life, I told clients that I guarantee I can find wasted and misused money in their life. At least 10%!  I told them to do a budget, then write down all that they spend money on and they were amazed and I was right!


Maybe you should do a time budget, writing down what you do and how much time daily and I guarantee you will find a lot of time for devotions and seeking Christ. If you found 10% and gave that to our lord in seeking him. We all have some or lots of free time, me included. So how about giving some of that time to our lord on a regular daily basis.


I was told once by a wise old bishop, if I as a priest, a true example of our lord, my congregation will be good. If I am only a good priest, my congregation will be fair, but if I am only a fair priest, my congregation will go to hell!


There is an old saying: “do as I say not as I do” I would like to update that to “do what our lord says (tells us) and do what our lord does.”


Finally, about “The three comings”


1st: when Jesus Christ, the son of God, came to earth and humbled himself by taking upon him our human nature which we call the grand act and great mystery. He lived as a man among men, teaching them about God, his father and showing them, what God is like, and in his amazing death upon the cross he revealed the depths of diving love.


2nd: in the future there will be another coming. Then Jesus will come as king in his glorious majesty to judge all men, the living and those who died. When people talk about the “second coming” the day of judgement, the last days, they are referring to this basic Christian belief as we say in the apostle’s creed, “from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead”.  And also in the Nicene creed: “And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end”


3rd: So much for the past and the future, what about the present, what about today? In today’s Epistle (Romans 13:8) St. Paul sets out in unmistakable terms what is demanded of the Christian who owns / accepts / believes and follows Christ as his king, judge and saviour. (Phillip’s) “let us be Christ men from head to foot” “it is time to wake up to reality”. This victory will not be won without the most resolute effort (on our part) neither will it come without the help (or grace) of Christ himself. His “coming” in the present is in the answer to our prayers. “give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness” and “arm ourselves for the fight of the day”


Now! If you were asked: what would you do today if you knew our lord was coming tomorrow? …….. I hope we could answer: “Keep on hoeing” as did St. Francis the meaning of course was that while he may fall short in devotions and not perfect, he is making the effort. He was making the preparations, are you?

Father Mike Robertson

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