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Showing posts from December, 2019

Sermon for Christmas Eve, "Keep Christmas Well," Luke 2:1-20

Sermon 12/24/19 Luke 2:1-20/9pm version Keep Christmas Well This Advent, I’ve been reading a book called Almost Christmas : A Wesleyan Advent Experience , which opens like this: “In a particular episode of the classic comic strip Dennis the Menace, Dennis is standing in the living room on Christmas morning, brightly decorated tree in the corner, with stacks of empty boxes and shreds of wrapping paper all around him. Having opened up his mountains of Christmas gifts, he stands there, arms outstretched and yelling at the top of his lungs for all in the house to hear: ‘Is that all?’  “Of course, we want to tell Dennis that he missed the point. We prefer to remember that Christmas is not about receiving presents, checking off your wish lists, and getting everything you want. Despite what holiday retailers would want us to believe, Black Friday does not define Christmas Day.  “Yet, if we are honest, we do find ourselves resonating at a certain level with dear Dennis. As we g

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, "The Redemption of Scrooge: The Hope of Christmas Future," Romans 8:18-31

Sermon 12/22/19 Romans 8:18-31, Luke 4:18-19, Matthew 11:29-30 The Hope of Christmas Future This week we wrapped up our Advent study where we’ve been reading The Redemption of Scrooge by Matt Rawle, and digging deeper into the story of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol alongside our focus in worship. At the start of the class, I asked participants to think about the future - to think about a few hopeful things we see in our futures, and then to reflect on any ways in which we’re anxious, afraid, or maybe just feeling “angsty” about our future. I’m happy to report that we have a lot of hope, and one of the first things that came to mind as we thought about hope for the future was the children of our congregation, and the life and light they bring to us now, that we anticipate shining for years and years to come. But it was also pretty easy to think about ways the future looms with some anxiety, some worry or fear too. As we stand in the middle of a presidential impeachment proc

Sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent, "The Redemption of Scrooge: The Life of Christmas Present," Luke 15:1-7, Matthew 26:11, Deuteronomy 15:11

Sermon 12/15/19 Luke 15:1-7, Matthew 26:11, Deuteronomy 15:11 The Life of Christmas Present Today, in our travels with Scrooge, we meet the Ghost of Christmas present. Dickens describes the spirit as, ““a jolly Giant, glorious to see; who bore a glowing torch, in shape not unlike Plenty’s horn.” When Scrooge first sees him, he’s sitting on a kind of throne of sorts, made out of rich and sumptuous foods, in Scrooge’s room which had been cold and bare, but is now decorated and boasts a blazing fire in the fireplace.   Scrooge dreaded the visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past, but he’s ready to learn from the Spirit of Christmas Present. Upon reflection, he tells the spirit that the lesson from Christmas Past is “working [in him] now.” And so the Ghost takes Scrooge out into the town. Dickens describes the town: “There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town, and yet was there an air of cheerfulness abroad that the clearest summer air and brightest summer su

Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent, "The Redemption of Scrooge: Remembering Christmas Past," Revelation 21:3-5, Luke 5:1-11

Sermon 12/8/19 Revelation 21:3-5, Luke 5:1-11 Remembering Christmas Past This Advent we’re journeying with Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Last week we learned about how cut off Scrooge had become from everyone around him. He’s mean and crotchety, and doesn’t do much of anything that doesn’t serve his own interests. But his former business partner comes to him as a ghost, telling him he’ll get three ghostly visitors who will give Scrooge a chance for redemption.  The next night, the first ghost arrives: the Ghost of Christmas Past. The Ghost’s appearance is unusual - an inner light gives the ghost an appearance like a candle, lit up from the inside. The Ghost takes Scrooge on several visits to his past. First, Scrooge sees himself as a young, lonely, sickly boy. Something about seeing himself as he used to be starts to stir Scrooge’s heart. He remembers the caroler that had come to his door the day before and Scro