This is odd, isn’t it? The last Sunday of Advent, yet there is a whole week until Christmas. May this extra time allow us a little breathing space to listen to Isaiah and to Matthew before we rush off to the exuberance and extravagance of Christmas. Isaiah issues an invitation to participate in the workings of the God who redeems us, an invitation that Ahaz refuses, to his sorrow. How do we refuse to participate in what God continues to do among us or around us? How are we missing the signs that God is at work even today?
Worship could be about sharing God sightings even in this season where the material seems to have the upper hand. What stories could we tell about how our breath was taken away by the beauty around us, by an act of kindness or forgiveness from a friend or even stranger? What images could we share of our surrounding community, images that speak of a longing for God, images of children at play, of lovers embracing, of reunions that overwhelm us?
Or maybe Matthew could help us claim and name the Christ who is born among us. We may have a bumper sticker declaring that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but how are we bringing that to life? How are we acting like Jesus, like we believe that Jesus is indeed the reason? A neighborhood invitation to join you for Christmas Eve services is a start, but what else can you do to name the Christ who sends you, who transforms you, who makes you into the disciples that you are?
This is worship on the brink, leaning forward into what is coming, celebrating what is here, and inviting all to join us as we watch and actively wait. How do we envision the kingdom of God? How do we live into the kin-dom of beloved community? In other words, today might be a time to share what we really want for Christmas! And what are the signs that sustain us while we wait? There are signs of God’s working all around. Let’s see them and name them for us and for the world.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.