“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
“Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.
Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
I awoke this morning under a nostalgic cloud. I longed for the days I lived under my father’s roof with my siblings. Those cartoon filled mornings spent wielding a cereal bowl containing high octane, brightly colored sugary fuel. Those times where struggle, conflict, and suffering seemed an adult plague and I dared not dream of being there with it. The days full of firsts that I begged God to take away. And now that God has answered my prayers and those days are but a memory, I wonder why I ever prayed those prayers and my nostalgia fuels those aching parts of my heart.
Remember the dreams you once dreamed? Remember when time dragged on and the days would never end? Now the days fly by, seemingly void of substance. We keep on keeping on and search for meaning to all of this. We buy lottery tickets dreaming of escape and waiting for that miracle.
Here we are today, beginning that faithful journey towards a manger and a swaddled, infant savior that is supposed to make it all better. WE begin with hope, excitement, and joy. Only this is not our first rodeo. We have been here before as a church, as a people. What will be different this time around?
We are that rebel army from Star Wars that found some secret plans detailing the energy shields of the Deathstar on the planet moon Endor and launch an attack only to find out, “It’s a Trap!”
This is a heavy time of year. The end of day’s approaches and all of those hopes and dreams that might have been have gone unfulfilled knock at our doors at night; our own little ghosts of Marley. A swaddled infant becomes the dividing lines in culture with one group demanding that we remember the reason for this season and another bombarding us with 40% on this day only on our entire purchase. And we get free shipping. It is no wonder that by and large we have replaced Christ with commercialism.
There is plenty of waiting going on, only it is in lines to see Santa or queuing up to grab a late night deal at the local peddler of retail goods. Where are the lines to se the swaddled infant savior? Where is the marketing campaign touting the little Lord Jesus? This is the saddest part of the season…The church has fallen victim to the same consumer mentality and the same instant gratification of feel good how ha as the world.
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Only that’s no moon, it’s a space station. What are the signs awaiting us? Surely it is not “Act now, Supplies are Limited!”, “Easy, Free Credit.”, “Buy One, Get One Free.”, “One day only!”, “40% off”, and “Free Shipping!” But this is how the church seems to behave these days. Act now or you miss out on the Holy Holiday Sales!
The church is sure of its place at the table of the Lord. We begin the season this year celebrating at the Table together. This is an important symbol. We have spent the last year with trials, loss, joys, concerns, victories, and defeat. This Table is our new hope. What can we do differently this time around? To what is God calling us? What is God putting before us as a church to go towards?
We ponder our life and lives together to see where, what, and how God is going to use us in this New Year. Can we meet this time with the same vigor and passion that we meet the ball-dropping celebrations of 2013?
This is a time of wonder, want, and waiting. We have the plans to that secret shield generator on Endor, we know it’s a trap, and the empire is attacking. What are we going to do?