Jeremiah 33:14-16 Psalm 25: 1-9
I Thessalonians 3:9-13 Luke 21: 25-36
The usher was standing at the back of the church after passing the collection plate. A little old lady, sitting on the back row, gestured for the usher to come over to her. She whispered, “I have to make change.” The usher thinking that she was putting in a large bill and getting change, presented the plate to her. The woman promptly put in a ten dollar bill and took out two fives. Change is hard for a lot of us.
The Christian calendar begins its new year not on January 1, but on this the first Sunday of Advent – which is always four Sundays before Christmas and the Sunday closest to St. Andrew’s Day (November 30). We are encouraged in this Advent time to stay awake, to awaken us out of our complacency of the long green season. The twenty-nine Sundays after Pentecost are over and we begin anew the anticipation of the birth of the Christ child. We are to prepare our hearts, our lives, our whole beings to receive the redeeming love of the baby Jesus.
Storekeepers have a different calendar from the rest of us. They mark “seasons” by changing the merchandise displayed on their shelves: summer is replaced with back-to-school, which is replaced with Halloween, and Halloween is replaced with the Christmas holidays. The Hallmark channel has already begun its countdown to Christmas with wonderful sappy movies with happy endings. Thanksgiving gets lost in the rush toward Christmas. Each year they seem to start the Christmas season a little earlier, hoping to squeeze in a few more shopping days.