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    Third Sunday of Advent

    Preacher: David Macdonald

    Category: Faith

    “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice…the Lord is near.”
    [St. Paul to the Philippians]

    Advent is something that comes to us every year in powerful images, storytelling and the beauty of art, music & in the pageants of children.

    And during this time of the church year…we find that we are now surrounded by a host of increasing secular adornments that have become if not Christmas…then the public mania of Christmas.

    That is why we should look to storytelling, pageants, art and music to find that
    Old and ‘hauntingly comfortable soulfulness of the season’…
    so many of us seek.

    Rejoicing, prayer & giving thanks are things that blend with advent…and the lead to Christmas day.

    That is why telling the story again…year after year is so important. The spirit of advent demonstrates the richness as found in our customs.

    There are the wonderful seasonal novels, stories, movies, operas, oratorios, pageants, poems, dances…and liturgical rituals.

    …it is found in many places…like
    Dickens’ “A Christmas carol” …replete with Ebenezer Scrooge, Cratchet, Marly, Tiny Tim and Fezziwig.

    There are those nutcrackers…that came out of boxes once a year…
    And festoon our shelves, spaces and corners of the house.

    There is the music…Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” & Handel’s “Messiah”.

    And that modern marvel we call the movie
    “It’s a Wonderful Life” & “A Christmas Story”

    Mangers are put up…and the festive lighting is placed inside and out.

    And then…
    there are the seasonal smells of cooking….
    hams, turkeys, gravy, stuffing, pies…and the smell of adults drinking hot drinks with ‘stuff’ in them.

    But…one sense is always kindled…fed…and sharpened for me…

    In the realization that what advent is about…in so many ways…is that we gather together as family and friends in “expectation”.

    This is not for entertainment you see…but for “that something” so much the greater…

    Our ancient and deeply human need to find
    God amongst us ‘Emmanuel’
    Through the hearing stories…sharing them with one another…
    And realizing how deeply loved we are by God.

    Art and music have for centuries found a stage to share with the joy of advent…

    advent lessons & carols….

    Menotti’s famous…
    “Amahl and the Night Visitors”
    The wonderful tradition of caroling with our neighbors door to door…in the cold dark night of mid-winter.

    The thing about advent music…is that it has within it …the ability to manifest the extraordinary images of good and simple trust between
    God & our neighbors….

    I will leave you today with this as we move into the last half of advent…
    • Rejoice always
    • Pray without ceasing
    • Give thanks in all circumstances

    I say these things to you in the name of god:
    Father, Son & Holy Spirit: