Advent: A Time to Refocus

Last Sunday I was assigned to preach God’s Word at Evergreen Community CRC in Fort McMurray, AB.  These classical appointments are a blessing, as they give me a chance to meet new people and experience a different worship service.  But what I found especially enjoyable were the various conversations I had with people.  On the way to “Fort Mac” I sat with a young mechanic.  The trip took an hour by plane, which gave us enough time to connect about many things.  He’s a Millennial student (born between 1983 and 2000).  I enjoy working with Millennials.  They’re generally open and engaging.  As we talked I noticed that he continued to use his cell phone throughout our conversation.  So I said, “You’re pretty good with that thing!” In response he said, “Yeah, I can text in my sleep. . . . I tried to set my phone aside for a couple of days once, and it just about killed me.  I’m can’t live without this thing.”  We went on to talk about his heavy cell-phone use and his view of his (social media) community.  Happily, along the way I was able to bring God into the conversation and even share the gospel as it related to his life.  But his comments regarding heavy smartphone use caught my attention.  He basically named that his phone was an idol (“I can’t live without this thing!”).  It reminds me that we’re all susceptible to idolatry.  We all trust in people or things to fulfill us.  We all have deep inner longings that need to be fulfilled.  How are you trying to fulfill yours? . . .  The season of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas) is a time to refocus.  A time to pull back a bit and reflect.  A time to renew our sights on the coming Savior.  Accordingly, we’re invited to set aside the idols of our lives and worship the Lord.  In practical terms this may mean setting aside items like smartphones for a time, if we find them distracting.  But whatever else Advent is, it’s certainly a time of worship as we prepare our hearts for the coming of the newborn King.  This year we’ll focus on the songs of Christmas from Luke’s gospel in our Advent worship services.  I look forward to singing praises to God as we hear his praises sung through these gospel stories.  Advent.  Come and worship.  Come and rest.  Come and refocus.

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