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Sunday, November 30, 2014

11302014 Advent 1 Ad Te Levavi

Sermon Audio

November 30, 2014
What is your hope built upon?
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

All of us have seen the Christmas decorations that have invaded Wal-Mart.  We now are continuously hearing the Christmas music on the radio and television and in less than four weeks will unmistakably want the season of Christmas to be over.  Yet, the reality is that we aren’t in the Christmas season.  The music being played by secular stations and the marketing machines may be real Christmas songs, but we are not in the Christmas season.  The reality is that we have lost the sacredness of the season we begin actually begin today.

Today is the First Sunday in Advent.  Advent is a season with one intent.  To point to and look for the coming of the Christ Child.  In our churches heritage we count the four weeks leading up to Christmas through an evergreen wreath that holds four candles and signifies the season of preparation of Advent.  For the next four weeks here in worship we will light the candles at the beginning of each service and explore each of these candles and their meanings in our daily lives with the end in mind, the real Christmas Season, which comes the twelve days after December 24th.  The first candle that we begin with today on the First Sunday in Advent is known as the Candle of Hope.

If you have seen any of the events of the last week from the major news and media outlets or rants or opinions on Facebook, it would probably be about Ferguson, Missouri.  The tragic events that transpired made me think of a simple question as I look to the Candle of Hope this the First Sunday in Advent.  What is your hope built upon?

Just last week we finished another church year looking to the end times or the coming of Jesus Christ in Glory to judge all of mankind.  With the events in our country and our world, some wonder if Jesus Christ return is not any closer.  But the reality is that our hope is and should be built on nothing less than Jesus Christ.

From our readings this morning, we have heard from Isaiah the prophet to the Psalmist, David and in our Gospel we hear from Saint John, there is one theme.  Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh is “the light that shines in the darkness.”  Jesus Christ is the answer to any and all problems that we individually and collectively face in our world today.  Jesus Christ is the only answer to our collective question of “What is your hope built upon?

For us this morning, the Candle of Hope is a poignant and purposeful reminder of just that, a hope built upon the promise of a Messiah coming to walk this earth, heal the sick, down trodden and the poor and ultimately for Him to die in order that we might have life.  The Candle of Hope is to be a light for each and every one of us on our individual journeys and our world of the Messiah Jesus Christ and His entrance in a lowly manger in Bethlehem.  From the time of Adam and Eve through Moses and Elijah and Isaiah, up until the manger in Bethlehem, everyone was looking for the Hope that was coming from a Branch of Jesse.  Jesus Christ was the hope to be born in Bethlehem that was promised and is our hope we have today in our world. 

Edward Mote stated the firm belief and conviction of the Candle of Hope in his song entitled, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”.  In this hymn Mote clearly states that our anchor is Jesus Christ.  It is upon Jesus Christ and the promises He makes to each of us in our baptism that we can fully rely upon in our every day lives.  This is why the Advent season is filled not only with hope of remembering the coming Savior, but what He will do for each of us on the Cross of Calvary thirty years later.

The Candle of Hope is the first candle on the Advent wreath not only to help us keep track of the sacredness of the Advent season, but to encourage us at the beginning of the Church Year.  For the Candle of Hope not only points to Jesus Christ, but is to be a reminder that our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the reason for the season and our great hope that is a great “light that shines in the darkness”.  For this is why Jesus comes in a lowly manger and why we light this first candle of Hope for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this First Sunday of Advent.  AMEN.

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