Advent 1 // Children’s Sermon
There are many times during this season when we try to KEEP AWAKE.
This week many of us probably tried to keep awake after eating too much food on Thanksgiving. We keep awake as we stay up late for endless parties and family celebrations. We’ll keep awake on Christmas Eve, too excited about the presents we will find under our tree. And we’ll keep awake to ring in the New Year.
Now this is not the kind of awake our Gospel is calling us to today. No, the gospel is telling us keep awake because Jesus is coming. Keep our hope awake, our faith, our joy, and our love awake.
During the year, even those of us who are at church every week can find our selves taking a spiritual nap. We get distracted by school and work, keeping our rooms clean, and our schedule on time. When the world gets busy we hit the snooze button on the things that ground us in our faith.
Advent, the season of the liturgical year we are entering today is meant to wake our selves up. Make our selves alert. Prepare our selves; for [SPOILER ALERT] Jesus is coming! Keep awake!
One thing that helps keep me awake at this time of year, mostly physically but also sometimes spiritually, is sugar. Lots of sugar… in candy, cake, pie, cookies. I’ll take it all!
How many of you love cookies? I love cookies. I love making cookies, eating cookies, giving cookies to friends and neighbors. One of my favorite things to do in December is spend time with my mom in the kitchen. One year I surprised my mom with a list of 12 types of cookies that we needed to make in one day.
How many of you have made cookies before? There is a lot of work that goes into making cookies… What kind of things do you have to do to prepare when you make cookies? Go to the store, gather the ingredients, get out bowls and spoons and mixers and pans.
How many of you have a favorite cookie. What are some of your favorite cookies?
My favorite cookie is called a Pomander. These cookies have been a part of my family’s Christmas celebrations as far back as I can remember. And Pomanders take a lot of preparation… Sure you have to go to the store, get the ingredients, crush and chop and melt and mix and roll. But most importantly you have to wait.
After you have done all the work preparing Pomanders you have to put them in a tin and on a shelf and let them sit. The longer you let them sit the better they taste, their flavor gets stronger, or as the recipe says “ripens.”
I can tell you from first hand experience that this flavor change is real. When I was younger, after we had made the Pomanders and put them in a tin and on a shelf. I would sneak in every day and sample a pomander. By Christmas the cookies would be the perfect flavor… but the tin would be half empty.
If you can’t tell by now… Waiting is not something that I am very good at… I have a really, really hard time waiting.
This time of year is filled with so many things to wait for… putting up decorations, making cookies, parties, presents, Jesus’ birth.
Waiting is HARD. Sometimes we just get so excited for the goodness to come. And we should be excited Jesus is coming again into our world and our hearts. We should be excited for the hope, love, joy, and peace that Jesus calls us to.
Excitement is important. But let us use our excitement to help us prepare. Preparing is important. Waiting is important. Keeping awake is important.
My pomanders taste so good, especially when I take the time to prepare and wait until they are ready.
During this Advent, as you prepare your homes and trees and gifts and cookies, also prepare your hearts. Make yourself ready. Jesus is going to be born. Keep awake because Jesus is going to change our lives and our world again.