The Passing Parson

A monthly blog by Rev. Dr George J. Koch, Holy Trinity’s Intentional Interim Pastor during our time of transition.  Pastor Koch will provide spiritual leadership for Holy Trinity until the new regularly called Pastor takes office.  In his weekly blog, Pastor Koch will discuss his thoughts on the Church Year and upcoming events at Holy Trinity.

The Time Between

Posted by Mark Edwards on Sunday, December 27, 2015 @ 11:14 AM

A Post by Pastor George

As you read this, we will be in the church season of  Advent, the season that begins the church year. While these four Sundays focus on our preparation for Christ's coming, the popular culture in which we live has a different agenda which can overshadow this preparation.

  1.  While the season of Advent focuses on Jesus's Coming (both as a baby and his second coming), the popular culture is focusing on celebrating gift giving. 
  2. While the season of Advent embraces the darkness that falls early in winter in order to look for the "light in the stable" (that is, Jesus), the popular culture sets off an eruption of holiday lighting in our malls, stores and homes.
  3. While the season of Advent embraces the frosty silence of December in order to hear the angels sing, the popular culture is playing Christmas Music at full volume in the malls and over the airwaves.
  4. While the season of Advent asks us to reflect on the mystery that Jesus is "the Word made flesh,"  the popular culture calls us away from reflection and into action - to parties, gatherings and the hustling, bustling preparation for Christmas Day. 

Some may hear these words like the words of Scrooge: the scolding voice of a "Bah, Humbug." My point, however, is simple: there's a richness to our Advent preparation that can easily get lost in the popular culture.  Phillips Brooks, an episcopal priest from Philadelphia, spent the winter of 1865 in Bethlehem. He was sick of the carnage of the civil war and burned out from his call. He hoped that the trip would restore him, and it did. From the experience of that trip, he penned the popular Carol, "O Little Town of Bethlehem:"  

The third verse of the Carol gets Advent right:  
 

How silently, how silently,   
The wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts    
The blessings of His Heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,    
But in this world of sin, Where meek souls will receive Him still,    
The dear Christ enters in.  

So, find some time this Advent to be countercultural. Prepare yourself as you  

  1. Focus on Jesus's Coming (both as a baby and his second coming).
  2. Embrace the darkness that falls early in winter in order to look for the "light in the stable" (that is, Jesus).
  3. Embrace the frosty silence of December in order to hear the angels sing.
  4. Reflect on the mystery that Jesus is "the Word made flesh."  

God's blessings to you this Advent and always!  

Pastor George Koch

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