Sunday, December 6, 2009

Advent - Week II

The Nativity ~ Gerard van Honthorst ~ 1622


I’m like a kid at Christmas. I want an Advent filled with Alleluias and angels “singing sweetly o’er the plain.” But I always encounter a few dark days. Stress at work. Family drama. What happened to the joy?

Maybe it’s part of the Advent program: We have to face the darkness before we can appreciate the Light of the World. (Ann Weems, Kneeling in Bethlehem)

Indeed, Mark’s nativity story begins with John the Baptist, the voice crying in our wilderness:

“Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” And so John came…preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Mark 1:3-4)

We have to face our flaws and failings before Christmas can come – face our need for a Savior before he can be born in our hearts.

I heard a great sermon line:

You have to wash your hands before you can hold the baby. *

So, Father, I wash my hands, confess my sin, profess my need of a Savior...and with gratitude and joy, I await the baby’s birth! Amen.

* - The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA,