7 December 2015


By John Ollis

I have never been a part of an historic Mainline denomination, so have never understood or were interested in a Lectionary type of church service program. Recently,  I was asked if I would preach on the topic designated fro the 2nd Sunday in Advent, which happens to be HOPE.
As a nonconformist I have basically only celebrated Christmas, Easter and Pentecost Sunday.
I thought I had better do some research about the reason behind Advent. I was surprised to find out it was developed before  the end of the fourth century, it of course relates to the 4 Sundays prior to the celebration of the birth of Christ, in some traditions it is 40 days long like Lent.
it was developed to blend together:
A penitential spirit for the seconde and final coming of the Lord.
Plus a joyful theme of getting ready fro the “Bethlehem event”.
The first part especially touched my Pastor’s heart as it is so easy to get caught up with so many other things, so I am now a “Convert” to this idea.
The Church Fathers in the fourth century must have seen how believers were getting so caught up in the cares and activities of life, they wanted to encourage reflection  and a PENITENTIAL SPIRIT. The early church expected the Lord to return in their lifetime, and so lived their lives in the light of Christ’s soon return. This automatically changes one’s mindset and lifestyle.
If the Church Fathers in the 4th century, were concerned about the believers busyness of life, now move to the 21st century and consider the hectic lifestyle of people and then throw in the “silly season” and you have the makings of a situation where Jesus is almost forgotten.
The Psalmist in Psalm 46:10 encourages us to “be still and know” .Jesus said “come apart and rest awhile” (it has been said if we don’t come aside and rest awhile, we can come apart.
I unashamedly pray sometimes Ps, 139:23 Search me O God and know my heart, try me and know my anxieties, and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting”. I think it is “wicked” to be too busy, even so busy serving the Lord, that  there is no time to BE STILL.
Thus, the Church fathers said we need to take this time to have a PENITENTIAL SPIRIT, and deliberately reject the secondary stuff, and make Jesus and his Kingdom rule over our lives the primary action of our lives.
I think I quoted yesterday the Apostle John’s words from  1 John 3:3 He that has this hope (of Christ’s soon return) purifies himself (or keeps himself pure).
May I encourage you to do 2 things.
Filter out some of the silly season in your world
Sit down and plan out some quality time to spend alone with the Lord.
The result will be, a fresh walk with the Lord, and I think you will enjoy the celebrations more on that day we designate as Christmas day.
What do you think ? Is this extreme impossible teaching ? Talk to me.