No homily this weekend, BUT....

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In my new parish home at Good Shepherd in Wayland, it's the custom for the deacon to preach at all the masses on the fourth Sunday of the month. So, this is the first time in 48 years that I haven't preached on the First Sunday of Advent. No, I didn't write a homily but I did have some thoughts about what I might have preached if I'd had the opportunity.  So, here's just a sketch of where my homily might have gone...

Try to imagine for a moment,
what would Christmas be: 
    if  we took away Santa and all the presents?
    if we turned off all the seasonal lights
        and took down all the decorations?
    if we didn't do any shopping or wrapping?
    if we chopped down not a single tree
        to drop its needles in our living rooms?

    if no one sent Christmas cards? 

    if there were no parties or open-houses? 
    if no one made eggnog or baked Christmas cookies? 
What then would be left of Christmas?
What would we do? 

What would bring us Christmas cheer?
How would we celebrate the birth of Jesus? 

Would the meaning of Christmas 
    be any less real?
Or would the meaning of Christmas be
    more real than ever before?

Try to imagine that our celebration of Christmas 
was stripped down to:
    a well known story of a baby born
        in a little town called Bethlehem...
    reaching out to those in need,
        as poor as that child asleep in a manger...
    giving, not receiving...
    people gathering in their houses of worship
        to praise God for the gift of salvation...

    singing psalms and hymns of  joy...
    breaking the holy bread of life, sharing a cup of blessing... 
    searching the heavens for a star to guide us
        to justice and mercy and peace...
    bringing the gift our selves to offer
        to the One who has given us all we have...

Advent's a time of less is more...
Advent's a time to pause, to stop,
    to take a few deep breaths and be still
        in the presence of God...
Advent's a time for waiting
    for what comes slowly, surely and with grace... 

Advent's a time to pray:
    to speak to God and listen for the Spirit's whisper...
Advent's a time to hear the cry of the poor
    and to reach out and generously help them...
Advent's a time to make room in our hearts
    for Jesus who still seeks a place to dwell...
Advent's a time for pursuing our heart's desire,
   for seeking what makes us truly happy...
Advent's a time, like every time and season,
    to be awake and alert and to watch
        for the coming of God in our lives,
        for the presence of God in our lives,
        and for the promise of God to be with us always
            in good times and in bad...
We have four weeks to prepare for Christmas:
    pray that we let go all we don't need
        and open our hearts and our arms
            to coming of God in our midst... 




1 comment:

  1. What an excellent message you WOULD have given on this first Sunday of Advent if the deacon had not given the homily. How many of us really stop to consider why and what we are celebrating. Thank you.


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