Homily 2nd Sunday Advent Year C – Peace through Integrity, and honour through devotedness

Homily (Sermon) - Peace through Integrity, and honour through devotedness

The Readings for Sunday 9th December 2012 or Second Sunday of Advent Year C:
Baruch 5:1-9
Psalm 125
Philippians 1:3-6, 8-11
Luke 3:1-6
[These readings can be found at www.universalis.com for the next few weeks.]

We have had snow across most of the country this week. Monday was the biggest online shopping day ever. All the shopping centres have their Christmas lights up. The radio stations are playing Christmas music. Christmas parties are happening in offices and homes. Mince pies are being eaten by the dozen. And Doctor Who is back on the cover of the radio times. It must be Christmas, right? Wrong!

It’s not Christmas, it’s Advent.

A time of year that the non-Christian world misses. Advent has its own feeling, its own purpose. Advent like Lent is a time of preparation, a penitent time, that is why we wear purple both in Lent and Advent. Advent is a time to prepare, a time to listen to the words of Baruch, Isaiah and John.

They all talk of levelling mountains, filling valleys, straightening roads. But what does that mean for us, well to help us work that out, I want to tell you a small story about a small stone that’s sitting next to my advent candle at home.

The stone was a present from Sonny, a friend of mine, who went on a long walk to find it. Sonny spent his summer walking to Everest Base camp, a long 6 week walk, climbing five and a half thousand meters up to the bottom, of the world’s tallest mountain. My stone used to be part of that mountain, it used to sit five and a half kilometres higher than my mantelpiece. Sonny said one of the hardest days walk on his way to Everest, was when he started the day in a small village, descended 500m into a valley then climbed 500m out of the offer side of the valley to end up after 10 hours hard walking only half a mile from where he started, looking back at the village he had left that morning.

Sometimes our lives can be like Sonny’s day, time spent going down and up, but with very little progress. The valley and the mountain slow our journey. We are separated from God by the route we take. If we could only find a way to straighten the road, to level the ground, we could travel much faster and much easier towards our Lord. But it’s not in our ability to level Everest, we can't possible fill in Sonny’s valley. And we can’t by ourselves level and straighten our spiritual road. But Christ can, and Christ does. When Jesus died for us on the cross he leveled every spiritual road, and straighten every spiritual path, he made our way easier, he left us scripture and teachers to point the way like signposts alone his road. This Advent I want you to follow the signposts, take the path Christ made for you, follow him.

Specifically this week, I want you to level something, and straighten something, and prepare yourself to meet Christ at Christmas.

Actually find something to level, use your imagination, jump on a mole hill, smooth the icing on your Christmas cake, smooth the sheets, blankets or duvet on your bed as you make it. As you level something think of Jesus levelling the road for you and thank Him for coming to save you.

Actually find something to straighten. You could take extra care wrapping presents to get the paper and folds clean and straight. As you do, think on the times your life has got all crumpled and screwed up, ask Jesus to forgive you, for your mistakes.

Take time to this Advent, take time every day this Advent, spend it with Christ. Say the Lords Prayer when you open the window on your Advent calendar. Make sure that you use Advent to prepare for Christmas, make time to straighten and level your spiritual life.

I would like to finish today by highlighting a phrase from our first reading, a phrase Baruch used which really struck me. Baruch prophesied about God telling Jerusalem to prepare because He was going to show the splendour of Jerusalem to the world. He was going to give Jerusalem a name forever, a name that would be “Peace through Integrity, and honour through devotedness”. That’s an odd name but a wonderful greeting.

This Advent I don’t wish you a Merry Christmas, and I don’t wish you Happy Holidays. This Advent I wish you Peace through Integrity, and honour through devotedness.

For those of you who want to know a little more about Sonny and his trip to Everest you can read all about it on his blog at http://www.sonnybennett.com

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