Texts: Isaiah 2:1-5, Matthew 24:36-44
In some ways Advent is one of the least surprising and mysterious seasons there could be. Because we’ve been here before. We’ve gone through it many times. We know the words, the songs, the stories. We know exactly what’s going to happen, how this is all going to unfold. Jesus is going to be born to Mary and Joseph in the most humble of settings, will be heralded by angels, visited by shepherds and stargazers from the East, and honored as the savior of his people.
You know this story, and there’s a great comfort in knowing it, and hearing it again.
Advent means “coming,” and this is a time when we look again for the coming of Christ.
What always strikes me about the first Sunday of Advent, is that the texts each year seem intent on unsettling us from what we think we know is supposed to happen. Instead of preparing us for the coming of a gentle birth – a memory of something long ago, something from out of the past – we are confronted with words from the adult Jesus, spoken in future tense, declared in his final days,...