November 26: Mickey’s Christmas Carol
HELP: When everything seems like it’s falling apart, we need something larger than ourselves to piece it back together.
The prophet calls for God to appear decisively, to “tear open the heavens” so the nations would tremble. He also confesses the need for such decisive intervention — the utter sinfulness of humanity, even of those who are part of God’s covenant. Finally, he changes metaphors — from earthly catastrophe to remaking pots, begging God to be merciful when God comes.
Jesus describes the end and instructs his disciples to be on watch for signs of it.
Dec 3: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
HOPE: We know something better is coming.
Three prophecies declare the hope of God’s coming to rescue the exiles from captivity. In vs. 1-4, a voice is to cry out “Prepare God’s way” as a highway forms across the desert from Babylon to Judea. In vs. 5-8, a second cry announces human ephemerality and the eternality of God’s word. In vs. 9-11, whoever may be keeping some sort of watch in Jerusalem, a city in ruins, is called to declare from the highest height the victory of God bringing the exiles home and sustaining them.
The gospel begins with the ministry of John the Baptizer, calling all to repentance and baptism for forgiveness to get ready for the kingdom of the one to come, the one who baptizes not only with water, but with the Holy Spirit.
Dec 10: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
VISION: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
The Spirit of the Lord anoints a prophet to bring good news to the oppressed, the brokenhearted, the captives, the prisoners, and the mourning — good news that includes “the day of vengeance of our God.” Why? None of these folks will get much good news unless the current social order is destroyed. When the current order is destroyed, rebuilding of God’s “ancient ruins” can begin (verse 4). In the meantime, the prophet rejoices, clothed in the hope this good news brings (verses 8-11).
John 1:6-8, 19-28
The witness of John the Baptizer concerning his own identity. He is clear he is not the Messiah. The Messiah would have an even more radical ministry than the one this baptizing prophet had introduced. “I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals” could be roughly paraphrased, “If you think I’m the Messiah or even claim to be, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
Dec 17: A Charlie Brown Christmas
MEANING: What Christmas is really about — not stuff, not materialism, but turning the world upside down.
The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will become pregnant by God and bear the Son of the Most High whose throne will be eternal. She consents, and then sings a song about how God is changing the ways of the world.
Dec 24: Christmas Eve Day
9:30 a.m. — Cocoa and carols
4 p.m. — Candlelight service