The Comfort of Repentance

 In Sermons, Teachings

Debbie Reese - December 10, 2017

The Comfort of Repentance

How does our preparation for the Christmas season cause us to miss Christ? Often, our lives become cluttered with busyness and sin that keep us from seeing the God who comes to us at Christmas. Both Isaiah and John the Baptist invite us to prepare a path for God in our lives. They insist a call to repent is a comfort for us! How is repentance a sign of God’s comfort during a busy holiday season?

From Series: "To Be Continued"

Advent is the season in which we prepare to welcome Jesus into the world. It's a season of hope - the light has not come, but it is coming into the world. It's the time of day just before the sun peeks over the horizon. As we anticipate Jesus' birth, we come to realize that God's story didn't end at Christmas - it was only beginning. And the story is still being told today - a story of love, hope and promise. What does it mean to say that God is still telling the great story of love through us?

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This sermon was written and delivered by Debbie Reese

Sunday is December 9th, which means we are half way through the Christmas season. Does anyone need a nap? Do you have time for a nap?  Are you already thinking of the gifts you still need? Or have you even started?

Christmas as a mom is extremely stressful. I feel responsible to make everyone happy.  Did I check everything off my to-do list? Did I get all the gifts I needed to buy? What parties are we able to go to? Did the kids find the Elf? Where did he or she hide last night?  I ran out of wrapping paper and tape and have only a few presents to wrap? Checking my Amazon account for the delivery time of a gift before we leave out of town.  Have we decided which family members we are spending Christmas with and then when is our “other” Christmas?  Are we all packed and ready to travel?  I missed a day of the Advent Calendar!!  Oh no!!  We need to color, cut and paste the cow, horse and lamb to the Nativity season or eat four “days” of candy! Do you suffer from OPD?? Ornament Placement Disorder!!! I know I do and all the ornaments have to fit just right on the tree; not too many Christmas balls on one side, that candy cane is not proportional with the rest!!  OPD is a real thing people, I have it!!

I took a poll recently of the real people, you know my Facebook friends because those are the real people I know, and who better to ask about their holidays than the people I trust? I wanted to see what their favorite and least favorite part of the holidays were.  Well, their answers were no different than the ones I have seen over the years: stress of money, divorced families, ungrateful people, having to travel long distances to see family, the weather, not living up to what someone wanted, the commercialism of the holidays, loneliness.  

What surprised me is there were more negative comments or posts than positive ones; by more than fifty percent! That was the shocking part.  We don’t find the happy or the merry or the blessings in the Christmas season, just the bad!

What are we missing? Christmas is supposed to be about Christ coming into the world – about peace on earth and good news to all people.

But somehow in our culture, we’ve turned preparation for Christmas into a circus that creates chaos instead of peace. Where did we go wrong?

Let’s get back to the roots of Advent, clear away some of the holiday clutter and rediscover the Christ at the heart of Christmas. He is our rock, our island of joy in the sad. Christ is our peace in the chaos. Christ is our grateful in the hate.

Let’s hear God call out to us “Comfort! Comfort!”

Join us Sunday as we learn how clearing away the clutter in our lives as we prepare for Christmas can be a source of comfort.

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