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Surprise!

Sunday, December 23, 2012 — Advent 4 C — Luke 1:39-55

I must have been about ten years old, an age when you are beginning to learn a few adult things about the world but often forget that you are a long way from becoming an adult. My brothers and I had finally decided that we were tired of being treated like little kids when it came to Christmas. We knew that Santa wasn’t real. We were pretty sure that the real Santa was our Mom and Dad. This would be the Christmas when we would finally expose Santa. We were going to let everyone know that he was a fraud. A couple weeks before Christmas, we had a secret meeting and made a plan. We were smarter than our parents and were going to show them a thing or two. We decided that every time during the next two weeks when we were home alone, we would search every nook and cranny of our house and find every Christmas present hidden in the closets and under the beds. We were not going to be fooled. We had figured out Christmas.

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Surprising Hope

Sunday, December 16, 2012 — Third Sunday in Advent C — Luke 3:7-18

As the days shorten and our culture frantically engages in its annual orgy of nostalgic longing for Christmases past, self-indulgent excess and self-serving charity, an underlying anxiety drives it all. Another year has past. What has mattered? Is there truly hope? The church's season of Advent acknowledges that widespread cultural ache. The crowds flock to the crazy baptizer in the wilderness because they too are looking for hope and want to cover their bases. John's fiery preaching, his call to repentance and his unprecedented demand that all must be baptized touch a sensitive nerve. What if he is right? What if there is a Coming One who is finally going settle the score for everyone?

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Here and Now!

Sunday, December 9, 2012 — Advent 2 C — Luke 3:1-6

Where were you on November 22, 1963, the day President John Kennedy was shot? Or September 11, 2001, the day when those jet planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center? Those events so shocked our country that many of us can still remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the terrible news. We remember dramatic, life-changing events by linking them to the particular places and details of the here and now. Linking memorable events to the specific details of the here and now is typical of the Gospel of Luke. Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus begins by reminding us that Jesus was born during “the reign of Caesar Augustus, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.” Luke does the same thing in today’s Gospel.

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Heads Up!

Sunday, December 2, 2012 — Advent 1 C — Luke 21:25-36

We don’t like surprises for which we are unprepared. Before the inspector shows up, the test is given, the bad weather arrives or Christmas comes, we want. . . . a HEADS UP. In today’s Gospel Jesus is giving the crowd a HEADS UP.

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Who’s in Charge?

Sunday, November 25, 2012 — Christ The King B — John 18:33-37

A king is someone who is in charge. Today, the last day of the church year, we celebrate the fact that Jesus is in charge. In a world where it seems that either no one is in charge or everyone wants to be in charge, the church declares that Jesus is in charge. Jesus has the last word. Christ is King! Thomas G. Long, Whispering the Lyrics, Lima, Ohio: CSS Publishing Co., 1995, pp. 77-78

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