Monday, November 23, 2015

The ABCs of Advent

LWML - Advent by Candlelight – November 19th, 2015

'Every year the ladies of Redeemer Lutheran host an Advent by Candlelight tea. As part of this event, I conclude the evening with a short reflection on the Advent and Christmas seasons, followed by a reading of Luke 2, from the King James, of course! This year's reflection is posted below. 

Reading. Writing. And arithmetic. The “R’s” we call them. In these disciplines – as in those of music, art, and cooking – we learn as we do in the rest of life, by learning the basics. We learn our 1,2,3’s, then someday, Algebra (well, for some of us anyhow). We study the Small Catechism learning the basics of the Christian faith. We memorize ABC’s and then write, speak, and sing.

It’s all rather ordinary if you think about it. Routine in a good way. And that’s a lot how Jesus’ first Advent was too. Ordinary. Humble. Lowly. A young virgin. A feeding trough. A baby boy who is Lord of all.

And yet it was, in a word: Simple. Something we could all use a little more of this time of the year. We tend to complicate things. Perhaps you’ve found yourself getting more frazzled about what is or isn’t on a Starbucks cup than what’s being said or left unsaid in your church. Perhaps we’re excited to get out of bed while all sane people are sleeping on Black Friday but struggle to wake up on Sunday morning. Perhaps we find ourselves so busy with the complexities of life this time of year that we forget the simple reason for Advent and Christmas.

Well, then, you’ve come to the right place tonight. We sing hymns. We hear the story. A child. A manger. A cross. Born for you.

Tonight we go back to the basics with the help of an old familiar friend, the alphabet.
Here are ABCs of Advent.

A is for Advent; it’s almost here. The angels announce that Christ is near. He came; He comes; He will come again, to save us all from death, hell, and sin.

B is for Bethlehem, a town quite small, but from her came the Savior of all.

C is for the Christ Child in swaddling clothes, whose manger of wood was exchanged for the cross.

D is for David, the great king of old, who looked to Christ as both Son and Lord.

E is for Emmanuel, “God with us” has come; to dwell with us, and take us home.

F is for Frankincense, a gift of great price, which foretells Jesus’ great sacrifice.

G is for the Good News from Gabriel’s voice, a Savior is born! Let all rejoice!

H is for Herod, the murderous king, who filled Bethlehem with terror and weeping.
I is for the incarnation of our Lord, truly God has kept his Word. And he who for our sins did atone is flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone.

J is for Joseph, a righteous man, who believed the Lord’s Word though he didn’t understand.

K is for the King of kings, peace, life, salvation and he brings.

L is for love, of the Father begotten, sent so that we are never forgotten. God is love, this is true; behold the cross he bore, for me and for you.

M is for manger, our paradise wherein rests the boy who lives to save us from sin.

N is for Nazareth, a humble city, yet from her will come forth the One called Holy.

O is for the O Antiphons, seven ancient songs which show how the Messiah was foretold long ago.

P is for prepare, it’s what Advent is about, for Jesus shall return – and of this there is no doubt
Q is for Quirinius, Syria’s governor in that age, when Mary and Joseph set out on pilgrimage.

R is for the Redeemer and his birth, whose Advent gives us great joy and mirth. We lift our voice and repent, then rejoice in Jesus’ joyous Advent.

S is for the Shepherds who saw angels up high, and who swiftly found the Savior nearby.

T is for the tree of Jesse, it’s root and shoot has sprouted great blessing. The ancient prophecy Jesus fulfilled and for us God’s anger has stilled.

U is for Us, yes, we’re the reason, it’s true. Christ came for all, for me and for you.

V is for the Virgin Mary, who though she was a maiden lowly, God bore unto her a child most holy. And though she first thought the angel’s visit quite odd, we rightly call her the Mother of God.

W is for the Wise Men also known as the magi, who were led to our Lord by a star in the sky.

X is for Gloria in Excelsis; Glory to God in the highest! Amen! And on earth, peace and goodwill toward men.

Y is for Yahweh incarnate, true God and true Man, born in our flesh in accord with God’s plan.

And Z is for Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem we long to see, and the place where forever with Christ we will be.

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