Monday, 3 December 2012


Sometimes I think that we ought to enter Advent with a level of excitement. 

It is a shame that some of the old Advent hymns tend to be slow and almost mournful. I grew up with one that we sung every Sunday during Advent which included the words “deeply wailing”. And boy, did the choir at Holy Cross Knightswood know how to deeply wail!

Sometimes I think that shopping centres do a better job of promoting this season of the year than churches. The problem is that they start in October! But they start generating excitement about what is to come.

Advent is a magical time. It’s a time of anticipation.. anticipation that we will see The Lord again, and anticipation of the magical Feast of Christmas when we get to come to adore, yet again, with shepherds and wise men!

In church, we should be generating excitement!

And children understand that kind of excitement. Just wait until Christmas gets a little closer. Most of them started making list of things they want Santa to bring them in June, but as Advent starts the lists start to get serious. 

A priest tells about a young boy, a few years ago, who at one of their Christmas Eve candlelight services expressed his excitement. Immediately after the blessing, this four year old exploded at the top of his lungs with, “Hooray!  Jesus is born! Jesus is born! Let’s get going, mammy!” 
Maybe he didn’t understand the true meaning of Christmas, but he certainly caught its excitement.

The prophet Jeremiah understood that kind of excitement. God always fulfils His promises. 

That’s the thing we need to see today. God always fulfils God’s promises. Jeremiah writes, “‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfil the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah . . .’” 
And God always fulfils His promises. No matter how dark the night, no matter how harsh the critics, no matter how violent the enemy God will not forsake us. 

There is a wonderful story about an event that occurred several years ago somewhere in the States. I can’t remember where, but it had been devastated by a tornado. Six people died in that tornado. Among the structures that were devastated was a Lutheran Church. 

The day after the tornado the pastor walked through the devastation. She writes that it was an unbelievable sight a water tower toppled, vehicles and other heavy items strewn around like toys, whole buildings gone from their foundations. 

When she got near the site of the Church someone called out: “Look! There He is! There’s Jesus!” 

“Sure enough,” this pastor wrote, “there was the statue of Jesus that had stood at the altar of the Church. There it was a beacon to what had been the site of a 100-year-old congregation’s place of worship.” 

The pastor later wrote that it was so fitting to look up from the chaos around her and see Jesus arms outstretched, welcoming, and loving His people.

She wondered how the statue had survived the devastation and later learned that two young girls, helping clean up for a family member in a nearby home had taken time to come over to where the Church had been and found the statue in the rubble. They decided that everyone needed to see that Jesus was still there, so they stood him up for all to see. 
Those young girls were right. Whether times are good or bad, in times when things seem hopeful and times when they seem hopeless, people need to see Jesus. He is our hope. He is the Saviour of the world. 

God always keeps his promises. Among those promises is the promise that he will never forget us or forsake us. 

This is an exciting time of the year. It’s very busy, I know, but it is exciting as well.

I hope you will use the Advent season as a chance to invite a friend to worship with you. There are special services all over the place during Advent and Christmas, which give us the perfect excuse to invite someone to something a little different, or even traditional?

The most powerful form of advertising any church can do is word of mouth. When people are excited about their faith, they spread that excitement to others. Are you excited? Do you have the same excitement as that little boy when he shouted, “Hooray!  Jesus is born!  Let’s get going, mammy!” 

Maybe you’re not quite that excited. Maybe we don’t do great excitement in Scotland? 

At least maybe you will be just as determined to spread the good news of Christ as the two young girls who lifted up Christ after the storm swept through their town so that everyone could see their Saviour. 
God always keeps His promises. Jesus is the Saviour of the world. His Kingdom is promised and will one day come. That’s exciting. And it’s what Advent is all about!  

1 comment:

Christine McIntosh said...

I have to say that my very first Advent Sunday in church was the first time I got singing "Lo he comes " - wailing and all! It made my hair stand on end (that explains a lot, eh?) and influenced my love of the season from then on. Maybe the wailing is just a good word to sing ... and I'd hate an Advent without it!