The Beginning of the Word (John 1:1-5)
Topic: Sermons Passage: John 1:1–1:5
“Celebrating Advent means learning how to wait. . . . Those who learn to wait are uneasy about their way of life, but yet have seen a vision of greatness in the world of the future and are patiently expecting its fulfillment. The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come. For these, it is enough to wait in humble fear until the Holy One himself comes down to us, God in the child in the manger.” -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Advent season is upon us. Growing up, I loved the Christmas season. I still do. I’m a romantic idealist at heart, and twinkling lights on trees (even our artificial one), softly sung carols, and candlelight services never cease to be enchanting. I also love cinnamon rolls and finding an orange at the bottom of my stocking. But then, somewhere past age 50, things changed. Everything about it grew rather lackluster. The traditions felt rote, and the significance of the season seemed somewhat lost, buried underneath endless store sales, and over busy holiday schedules. And somewhere along the way I realized that much of my joy at Christmas was watching my children's joy at Christmas. But then they grew up and moved away (who said they could do that? Well, actually, I did, but that's another story for another time).
So what must one do to regain the joy of the Advent season? Well, simply put, we have to get back to what we're waiting for ... and we're waiting, we're adventing, for Jesus, the Messiah, Christ the Lord. And in waiting, I have found myself coming back to one verse. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2). Long ago, in some cave of a stable, out of the darkness, there was an advent. An arrival. An appearing. A new birth. Long ago, over some field or hillside, in the midst of the darkness, there was an epiphany. A sudden revealing. A manifestation of the divine. I have sat with this verse for the last few years now, contemplating this truth, this wonder. That, while I was walking in darkness, while I was living in the land of the shadow of death, light broke in, split that darkness, and enabled me to see. Light appeared in the form of a person. Light was born in the form of a baby. “God in the child in the manger.”
So, this Advent, we're going to spend the season with the Apostle John. And he's going to introduce us to that light. He's going to introduce us to the Word. And with that introduction will come a great promise. And it's a promise of hope, and of joy, and of Christmas. We'll be taking a break from the Prophet Jeremiah to live with the Apostle John for the next five weeks. And then we'll re-engage with Jeremiah in January. I think John and Jeremiah would understand each other. And I pray that spending some time with John will help us to better understand Jeremiah. I hope you will find that to be true. See you Sunday, Dr. Dave