We had some great meetings up at OKC First the last few days and we got through a lot of discussion on who our churches are and how we can communicate the story/season of advent in a creative way.
some of the discussion that we had about advent was that our culture is so wrapped up in consumerism, especially during this season. some key thoughts were:
- the scriptures found in Isaiah are to a people in exile. who in our world is in exile? what is exile for our church? what is exile for our members?
- we open up presents on Christmas day and yet are still unsatisfied because we go out the next day to shop more. it’s an addiction to stuff. how can we break it?
- consumerism is a form of exile for many people. it is a desire to fill their life with stuff in order to gain worth, esteem, pride, etc. when really we should be looking to God.
One of the key points that we want to make throughout the church year is that our salvation, the story of God’s people, does not begin with the individual. We must avoid going straight for the individualistic conclusion of these passages and instead, begin with the corporate. Once we do that, we can then bring it down to what is it saying to the individual, but we mustn’t start there.
“Christmas Don’t Be Late” is a song from the Alvin and the Chipmunks (cartoon as well as the live action/CG movies of recent date). It speaks in no subtle way that Christmas is about getting gifts. But we want to flip it on it’s head. The phrase gets at the idea of Advent. That Christmas is not here yet. It’s coming, but it’s not here. So for children in slavery in Africa, they need Christmas to get here. They need freedom from their master. The need Jesus to save them. For people in our congregations, we need freedom from many things and we need Christmas to get here, but it’s not here yet.
The people of Israel, who are under the oppression of the Assyrians, as well as the Babylonians, (found in the Isaiah passages) need freedom. They desire to be home once again. They need a Savior. Please, don’t be late.
Here are all the passages for the Advent and Christmas seasons, highlighting the passages we will be preaching from. Here are samples from Walter Bruggemann’s commentary on Isaiah (here’s vol. 2) so you can get an idea of what’s going on in the life of the Israelites. Here are the references and prevailing thought that we came to for each week of Advent:
Isaiah 2:1-5 – Peace
Isaiah 2:1-5 – Peace
Isaiah 11:1-10 – Reconciliation
Isaiah 35:1-10 – Hope
Isaiah 7:10-17 – Emmanuel (God With Us)
In the coming weeks, i will be posting some thoughts that we addressed at our meetings on each of the weeks of advent, christmas and epiphany.
If you have any other thoughts that you can remember and would like to share in relation to our meetings, please do so by clicking on “comments” below. /