Advent Sunday.

While all the commercial people have moved from promoting black Friday — after Thanksgiving — to Cyber Monday (tomorrow) we forget that in the Church calendar this is the first day of the year. The year starts with Advent, which is a fast and a time of preparation for Christmas, which was a feast. The collect for this day and every day during the Advent season is this:

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

My Calvinist Brothers would say that I am being a Papist, for this follows the times and seasons. My Church does not really follow seasons, and uses this time for evangelism. There will be four services instead of the usual two in Dunedin for this.

What we need to acknowledge, instead, is that there are righteous men in all churchly traditions, who point beyond the tradition to Christ. We need to put aside the worldly and fleshly things, which include our desire to be praised and promoted, and instead seek, like Christ, humility and service.

Isaiah 2:1-5

2 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

2 In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.

3 Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

5 Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Romans 13:11-14

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.