Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church

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Rector's Corner

Advent 2019

  • The Rev. Dr. Bill Murray
  • Nov 20, 2019
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The Church has always been a little “strange.” God calls us to live a little differently than the rest of the world. He calls us to be the leaven that raises the world to new heights. God calls us to be the salt that gives this world a hearty, healthy flavor. We are called to focus on those the world forgets and to place value on the seemingly worthless. I hope we all get that and know it. We may not always achieve this, but knowing that is our work is the first important step.

Advent is the time each year when we are called to prepare for the return of Jesus while also celebrating his birth 2,000 years ago. For this rare month or so, the larger world lines up with the church as folks run around getting ready for Christmas. Yes, it is largely the commercial and secular celebration that gets folks excited, but the message of love and harmony tends to squeak through the noise anyway. I love to decorate our home and think of things to give to friends and family. I love just about every aspect of the season - especially the waiting and preparation. In other words, I love Advent when it is a season of expectation, joy, and wonder.

The Church can be a little strange here. With the world finally paying some sliver of attention, we can look like fussy Grinches or grumpy Scrooges. No trees! No wreaths! No joy! We need to be sorry for all we have done and get ready for Jesus coming back! I understand the idea here - I just think it is misplaced. Preparing for Jesus means recognizing that we have messed up AND getting things ready with joy. Thinking of Jesus’ return should be an event of excitement. Reflecting on the nativity should engender gratefulness and soft joy as God draws near.

The greater invitation this Advent is to help one another celebrate the season in a way that God would want. How do we prepare for Jesus’ birth and his return? We live into the call to be the leaven, the salt, the voice for those in need. We joyfully redirect the world to God’s values of caring for the hungry, the hurt, and the lost. We strive to do the same ourselves. Yes, we will be a little strange and different, but it is where the Church should be. Not grumpy and separate, but part of the world and urging one another to be better as we get ready for a beautiful Christmas celebration.