December 23, 2012 Fourth Sunday of Advent | The Community
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December 23, 2012 Fourth Sunday of Advent

This week’s readings

A spectacular tale this week, the Annunciation, with the Magnificat as our canticle, and wonderful promises from God in our readings from Micah and Hebrews.

Are you doing something creative for the fourth Sunday of Advent, a pageant, or a monologue from Mary? What is your theme this Sunday?

Join in the discussion below, sharing first impressions, finished sermons and resources you find through the week.

Dawn Leger

About Dawn Leger

I am a priest in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, having served in Stouffville, Ontario. I think preaching is a profound and great privilege granted to us by God and our Church. I love the reading, the writing, the proclaiming, the dissecting and the dialogue. I also love to cook, sing, read and laugh, in no particular order.

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0 Responses to December 23, 2012 Fourth Sunday of Advent

  1. When Judy and I met, she had a little car. Not as little as the car I have now — nothing in North America that is roadworthy is as little as the car I have now — but a little car nonetheless.

    It was a Plymouth Sundance. NOT a Dodge Omni. From a distance of 25 feet you couldn’t see the difference. But the name meant everything to Judy,and when I called it an Omni I got a look I prefer not to get. Omni, Sundance. A rose by any other name would not smell as sweet. Try calling roses Crudstunks, and see what that does to their sales figures down at the florist. Names are important. [old Dave Berg Mad Magazine joke. Iwonder if anyone will remember it?]

    I am all in favour of rebranding Christmas as we do it in church. I am willing to give up the name Christmas, for something infinitely better and of eternal significance.

    Whenever people complain about putting the Christ back in Christmas, I see an opportunity to let go of a seasonal winter festival that is fun and wonderful, but which has little to do with the reality of true religion and sound learning.

    Santa Claus is a kind, gentle and fun-loving dear old man, who gives employment and benefits to elves, keeps domesticated reindeer on the payroll for a whole year even though he only uses them for one night,and has never made a move to have them designated as contract workers so he doesn’t have to pay their medical. He’s kind of like another kind,gentle, and fun-loving dear old man who wears turkey hats, tells long stories without a clear point, and has infinite patience with small children and almost none with storming adults.

    Santa Claus gives gifts to the good children, and gives coal to the bad children. But coal is useful – you can warm yourself with it. So even the gifts that show that you have been judged are valuable and helpful.

    The Christmas tree and its decorations have pre-Christian origins, and like many of the cultural symbols of all festival days, it has been adopted and Christianized, as have we all. When you bring an Advent wreath into church, you bless it tacitly. When you bring a Christmas tree into church, you bless it tacitly. What other elements of culture have gained a tacit blessing by their presence in church? [possible to have a brainstorm about this. Harvest Thanksgiving? Warden’s wands? musical instruments? People!]

    But the pendulum is swinging in another direction now, and I would be happy to see Christmas carry on in its own way without much attention from the church. We can safely ignore it, because we have something better going on here.

    I would prefer that the church give its attention to the feast of the Incarnation: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    The miracle is not that Santa got that bicycle, fully assembled, down the chimney. I mean, yes, that IS an engineering miracle, and I don’t think anyone should scoff at that. But there’s a greater miracle, and I don’t want the lesser one to overshadow the greater.

    The greater miracle is that God saw fit to become a man. A Galilean peasant man. Who was born under suspicious circumstances, whose life made the authorities VERY uncomfortable, and whose death was the shameful death of a common political criminal, on a cross. Just another Friday’s work in a backward and annoying province on the outer edges of the Roman Empire. The kind of place you’d send a governor you wanted to forget, or an army general you wanted to teach a lesson.

    And in that annoying place where you can’t get a good pork roast, because boar is off the menu, and even rumours of bacon create a riot that might take days to quell, in that annoying place where the men don’t shave so it’s hard to tell one from another, in that annoying place where the religious authorities stick their noses into every kind of political decision and hold up business while they decide whether God has blessed it or not, in that annoying place, the same God chose to break into our lives in a very real and most tangible way.

    As a baby, he wails, as Fr. Simon reminded us last Christmas. I’m sure he used up a lot of diapers too. As an adolescent he goes off to theTemple without parental approval and gives his parents a conniption fit. As a man, he talks back to his mother, and even says “Woman, what does that have to do with me?” If ever a mother needed an excuse to slap her son, once, across the face to show him who is mom, that would be the moment right there. The Incarnation not only gives us a man who is God, but a very challenging man, in whom it is not always easy for everybodyto see that God is at work here.

    This is a miracle of true and eternal significance. God has reached out to us in this man who will bring us to God. That is the meaning of Christmas.

    And the shortbread is nice too.

    Now unto the King eternal, immortal, the only wise God, be all might, majesty, dominion, power and glory, henceforth and forevermore.

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