This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on December 13, 2015.
“You brood of vipers!”
What pastor has the courage, or probably more likely the foolishness, to proclaim this from the pulpit? I might try it for a dramatic entrance, but I am likely not going to be so bold as to actually back that abrupt intro with the exhortation fervor of John the Baptist. Perhaps I might let John’s words echo in the room for a moment, before softening their effect by redirecting them to John’s audience rather than my own.
John takes no such soft approaches, and it makes the exhortative words quite confrontational to our ears just over two weeks before Christmas. This passage flies in the face of the Joy theme of the third week of Advent.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on December 6, 2015.
Each year after Thanksgiving, my family and I start our preparations for the season of Christmas. We have our “traditions” if you will. Naturally we start with the tree, which is decorated with a menagerie of ornaments collected over the last 30 years: the felt Snoopy I made in kindergarten, the ornament we bought at Disney World in 2002, paper chains made by our kids several years ago, and ornaments with baby photos of each child from their most cherub-like years.
We play Christmas music, drink our only cup of eggnog for the entire season, and as a family we hang our memories on the tree. This is how we begin the preparations for Christmas.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on November 29, 2015.
My oldest son and I walked into a home improvement store in September and were confronted by the first of the signs of Christmas’ distant arrival, a giant air filled Santa greeted us at the front door. Halloween decorations were side by side with Christmas decorations.
Our American culture is skilled at anticipating Christmas. This is not a skill that is lacking. We so engorge ourselves on Christmas spirit that we are bloated with the stress of the season, and nearly sick of Christmas music by the time the twelve days of the Christmas season actually arrive. All anticipating the arrival of Santa… er, Baby Jesus.