A Season of Hope

I miss the snow. I miss shoveling my sidewalk. Besides leading to instant gratification, I find shoveling snow to be rather enjoyable…as long as the snow is light and fluffy. It is great to be out in the fresh air. And I get to wave and say hello to my neighbors.

This morning one of my neighbors asked how “church” is going. I replied that I was enjoying the Advent Season. There was a slight pause, then my neighbor asked, “What is Advent?”

Well, this was my moment. Here was my neighbor who I surmised was as tired of the commercialism and secularism of Christmas and was, no doubt, ready to hear some Good News!

I began to explain how, for Lutherans, Advent is not so much a time for purchasing presents, decorating trees, and attending parties as much as it is a time for reflecting about our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For Lutherans the weeks before Christmas are a time for contemplation and preparation.

And then I invited my neighbor to join with me at worship the very next Sunday. After all, this could be an opportunity to share our faith…to join the people of Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church worshiping our Lord and fellowshipping with other believers.

My neighbor’s reaction? Well, she looked puzzled to say the least. For my description of Advent was totally out of sync with her understanding, her experience, with this season. For her, this was a season of continual parties leading not up to Christmas as much as it was to the New Year. I could tell that the thought of adding worship to her life was totally exhausting. And then she said she liked the Christmas music she heard as background music in stores…but felt it was there mainly to get her to spend more money. Which, of course, sadly, is true.
She then said thank you for the invitation…that she hoped someday she would have time to worship with us. She would let me know. And for me, well, that was good enough.

After all, you and I, as Christians, are called to share hope…especially in the Advent Season. And, as Christians, we understand that our hope lies in our Lord. In this season leading to Christmas Day we join together as we anticipate and prepare for the arrival of the Baby Jesus. We live in hope for a new life in Christ.

Christ’s Peace be with you, and Merry Christmas!

Pastor Steve