By Tracy Simmons
I didn’t learn about Advent until I became a religion reporter. At first, to me, Advent meant that Christmas was coming and my job was about to become very, very busy. Over the years though, I’ve come to recognize it as a significant part of the religion calendar; and as a significant reminder in my own faith journey.
This morning I went to church at Community Congregational United Church of Christ in Pullman, Wash. and the rector, Rev. Kristine Zakarison, delivered a memorable sermon, one that I needed to hear.
Advent is the first day of the new year of the liturgical year. And who doesn’t like a new year, or a new anything for that matter? Fresh starts are nice. But this holy day isn’t just about new beginnings. It’s about preparing for the birth of Jesus.
Yes, you read right. Advent is about preparing for the birth of someone who came to this earth almost 2,000 years ago. Hmm, so how do we prepare for something that’s already happened?
I’ll be honest, it was Zakarison’s children’s sermon that got me thinking about this. Sometimes the most simple messages are the ones that get your wheels cranking. Thankfully, the pastor expanded on this during the adult sermon.
“What was Jesus like?,” she asked.
He was kind (to EVERYONE), he took care of the sick, befriended the outcasts and fought for justice. He was the 99 percent! OK, I added that last part, but it’s true. Zakarison said Advent is a call to be outraged that the gap between the world’s poor and the world’s rich, is growing wider and wider. It’s a call to stand up for all mankind – regardless of age, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc. That’s what Jesus would do, and that’s how we can welcome him this Christmas.