Luke 21:25-36:  

    “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.  People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.  Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

             Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.  So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.  Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

             “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.  Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (NRSV)

             Happy New Year!  No, I haven’t lost my calendar.  I realize that it’s only November 29, not January 1, but followers of Jesus the world over know that the church marks the beginning of the Christian year on this day, the first Sunday of Advent.  I rather like that.  I like being part of an alternative rhythm that sees New Year’s Day as a time of watching for signs of Christ’s in-breaking reign, not just as an excuse for throwing yet one more party. 

            Today’s lectionary Gospel passage from Luke reminds Christians that Advent is a time, not just to remember the first coming of Jesus, but to look forward to the second coming of the Savior.  Now that is something to celebrate!

O God, we look for signs that your realm is near,

that your Word rules the world. 

Join us together in a spirit of thanksgiving and earnest prayer.

 Rev. Scott Thayer, Bethany Memorial Church