Our Advent Candle readings this year are written by Rev Martha K. Spong, a United Church of Christ minister in the US. They can be found here (though we will be using them as all read by candlelighters instead of as congregational responses)
Our Scripture reading for the first Sunday of Advent is: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:2-4; 3:17-19
The sermon title this week is The Christmas Vision
Early Thoughts: Advent is a time of hope. A time of waiting. A time of vision. What is your vision this Advent? What is OUR vision this Advent?
As we prepare for Christmas we are not only preparing for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem 2000+ years ago. We are preparing for Christ to come into our world today. We are waiting, as we are all year round, for the world to be changed, for the Kingdom of God to come into full bloom. And when we look at our newsfeeds it seems we could honestly say "how much longer?"
But still there is the vision. It is the vision and the hope that keep us moving forward.
There is not a lot of cause for hope in these readings. Habakkuk lived in a land that had been, and still was devastated by warfare. There is little to no light on the horizon. Dawn is a LONG way off. But still Habakkuk talks about the vision, still he exhorts folk to keep the vision in front of them, still he says it will (eventually, at the appointed time, in God's time) come to fruition.
What is the devastation we see around us? What is the vision just over the horizon? What do we hope for this Christmas?