Is it Christmas yet?
It happens every December, EVERY December. Someone will ask the question, “Why can’t we sing Christmas carols in worship?” The answer is always the same, “Because it’s Advent.”
Perhaps in your congregation that litany repeats itself too. In our culture “Christmas” begins just after Thanksgiving and ends on December 25th. In the church “Christmas” begins on December 25th, following the four preparatory weeks of Advent. That calendar clash creates tension that remains stubbornly in force.
There is insight for this to be had in the call story of Ezekiel. Hard-headedness is on all sides, but there is a word “sweet as honey” to be heard in the midst of all disagreement.
That is a word worth waiting for, a waiting which is spiritually necessary to the amazement of a manger filled with new life, a God incarnate in our midst, a cross bearing the love that brought creation into existence.
And wait we must, for we too are a “stubborn and rebellious people”, who need Advent to wait so that our own stubbornness might become a word “as sweet as honey” in our mouth. That is the Word of Christmas, the Word made flesh who will take away the sin of the world. That Word will leave us wanting more, and be for us a Word worth waiting for.
O God, we are a stubborn people. But you know that. Help us this Advent season to hear anew the word of your mercy. Enable us to taste the sweetness of your grace. Soften our hard heads so that our hearts have room for you, and our love is big enough to share. Amen.
Sherman Bishop is the pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Westlake, OH.
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