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First Sunday of Advent November 27-28, 2010

posted Nov 30, 2010, 10:52 AM by fathermark@stmaryshuntingburg.org

 First Sunday of Advent

St. Mary's, Huntingburg

November 27-28, 2010



            "Jesus is the reason for the season."

These days, the Christmas shopping season starts the day after Halloween ... or earlier ...

And ... and with all of the commercialism ... the shopping frenzy ... the glitz ...

... with all of the politically correct "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" ... instead of the straightforward "Merry Christmas" ...

... with Christmas songs about some red-nose reindeer ... and some fat, bearded guy in a red and white suit ...

... with all of that distraction ...  it can be a real challenge to "remember the reason for the season:"

Jesus Christ ... born in a manger ...

... the Son of God ... in human flesh ... to save us from our sins ...

Sometimes, we really have to challenge ourselves to remember what it is that we're celebrating at Christmas.


            In a sense, Advent is precisely the invitation to "remember the reason for the season."

These four Sundays of Advent are a weekly reminder ... an invitation ... a challenge ... to keep our eyes on what it is that we're really preparing for ...

... not Santa Claus coming down the chimney ... but the birth of Jesus ...

... the birth of the Son of God in human flesh which is the real beginning of our salvation ... not just the sweet story of a baby born in a manger ... but the birth, in human flesh, of the Savior of the World ... the birth of a salvation that will be finally accomplished on the Cross on Good Friday and the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.

But we aren't there yet.

There's still this time of anticipation ... a time of waiting ... a time of preparing ourselves spiritually for the birthday of our Savior ... a preparation not carried on by more shopping ... but by more praying.

And so, each week, we light one more of the four candles in the Advent wreath ... until, finally, we're able to light the Christ candle in the very center, symbolizing that the Savior has come among us.

We have this time of Advent to help us cut through the glitzy commercialism of a secular Christmas to prepare ourselves for the real "reason for the season."


            But Advent isn't just a time to look forward to Christmas ... the First Coming of Jesus ... it's also the time to look ahead to Second Coming of Jesus ... his coming again at the end of time ...

The readings of this Advent season challenge us to focus our vision ... not just short-term to Christmas ... but long-term to the end ...

The season of Advent reminds us that the very same Son of God who came once in human flesh ... will come again to judge the living and the dead ... not just to see who's been "naughty or nice" ... but to see if we have claimed the salvation that he has won for us ... claimed it and lived it ... to see if we have had our eyes fixed on the world to come.


            If it's true that we all need  help to remember the "reason for the season" ... we need help, even more, to remember "the reason for our breathin'" ... the reason for our being.

We need help to see what life is really about ... what life is really for ... where this life is ultimately, inevitably, and definitively headed.

It isn't just Christmas-time glitz and commercialism and consumerism that we need to cut through ... it's the distraction ... the smoke-screen ... the busyness of ordinary daily life.

That's what Jesus is talking about in the Gospel today when he reminds us of the days of Noah and his famous Ark.

The people at the time of Noah ... well, they were doing what normal people do ... "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage" ... working, making a living, relaxing, having fun ... "doing their thing."

The problem is that that's all that they thought they were doing ... that's all that those fools at the time of Noah were paying any attention to.

Their noses were so firmly planted in this world ... in the daily, give-and-take world ... that they weren't paying attention to the fact that this ain't "it" ... this ain't the final word ... nothing here is the final goal.

And so, when that rain began to fall ... and the waters began to rise ... and Noah began gathering those animals into his Ark ... the people in the time of Noah were caught by surprise ... and swallowed up.

Swallowed up ... because they weren't remembering the "reason for their breathin'."


            The Season of Advent reminds us that we're all on a journey ... we're on the way ... we're traveling down the road of life ... not aimlessly ... but ... to a particular point.

We're travelers ... wayfarers ... pilgrims ... on the road of life.

And Advent challenges us to lift our eyes off the road immediately before us ... or turn away from all the glitzy distractions all around us ... and think beyond the challenges we face at this particular moment on the road of life ...

Advent challenges us to lift our eyes and look to the goal ... the immediate goal of the celebration of the birth of the Son of God, born in human flesh to save us all ... and the ultimate goal of the fullness of salvation that Jesus wants to bring to each one of us at the end of the road.

Let's embrace this Advent season ... let's clear our heads of the distraction ... and let's keep moving to the final goal of our salvation in Jesus Christ, born in a manger, dead and risen up, and coming again in glory with salvation for his people.