Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Advent, a Church season designed to recall the anticipation and waiting for God’s coming, is about hope and faith, for sure, but not in the secular sense of optimism. Rather, hope and faith in the biblical sense that we need a miracle and only God give it.
Christmas is about light coming into the world. Not just any world, a very dark world, the “present evil age,” as Paul put it, or “the whole world” that “lies in the power of the evil one,” as John put it. In contrast to the commercial Christmas music insists that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” and advertisers wanting us to “feel the merry” (in order that they might feel the profits), Fleming Rutledge rightly notes that “the disappointment, brokenness, suffering, and pain that characterize life in this present world is held in dynamic tension with the promise of future glory that is yet to come. In that Advent tension, the church lives its life.”
Advent must shape our message. Any good politician knows that the best way to defeat an opponent is to get them off-message. The church has a message that speaks to “the disappointment, brokenness, suffering, and pain that characterize life in this present world.” Too often we’ve allowed the enemy to get us off message… into thinking our message is that we need to be greeted with “Merry Christmas” at the shopping center instead of “Happy Holidays.” God help us!