A Sermon on Mark 13:24-37
Outside the church doors, the Christmas season is at hand. Twinkling lights decorate street corners and shop windows. Christmas songs play on radio stations. Television commercials count down the shopping days. Santa has arrived at Macy’s. Even our Starbucks cups have turned a jolly red.
Inside these church walls, though, we are not in the Christmas season yet.
Instead, we are in the Advent season – a time of watching and waiting, hoping and longing, preparing our hearts and minds for the birth of Christ. Inside these walls, we will not tell the Christmas story or sing carols of Jesus’ birth until our Christmas Eve services. Inside these walls, we observe a time of stillness and silence, following the ancient tradition of the church that teaches that waiting expectantly in the darkness prepares us to rejoice at the coming of God’s light into the world.
Perhaps, like me, you live with a foot in both of those worlds. Perhaps, like me, your moments of meditation on hope and peace, your moments of holy anticipation, are mixed and mingled with the chaos of getting Christmas cards out and Christmas cookies made. Perhaps, like me, you seldom experience darkness without the glow of an electronic screen. We live with a foot in each world; one foot stands in the frenzied, commercialized, materialistic Christmas of the secular world. The other foot stands in the lovely, but perhaps idealistic, church world with its call to slow down, wait, and watch in the darkness.