The Hopes and Fears of the Next Four Years

adventcandleschristcandleThe date of Easter moves around according to the lunar calendar. Christmas, on the other hand, is not a “moveable feast.” It is rooted in the solar calendar, and is always observed on December 25th.

However, December 25th falls on varying days of the week, a fact that can drive preachers crazy. This year I have a whole week between the last Sunday of Advent and Christmas. Next year, the last Sunday of Advent is also Christmas Eve!

So, it’s Monday I don’t have my Christmas Eve sermon ready yet. I’m grateful to have a few days to prepare. I can’t remember a time in my life when our nation was more divided or more anxious about an incoming presidential administration. Nor can I remember having a President-elect who behaves like Mr. Trump, flouting protocols, tweeting insults, and appointing foxes to oversee chicken coops. I am truly fearful for our nation, the environment, and our neighbors around the world.

I bring that fear to the texts for Christmas – to the angels’ command, “Fear not!” and to the unlikely king who lies swaddled in a manger. Just what might “good tidings of great joy” mean for us today? In other words, what difference does God’s incarnation make?

Perhaps by Saturday I’ll have some kind of answer. It will have to be succinct, however. Christmas crowds don’t come to hear heavy theology. They come for the candles, the carols, and the memories. For most, Christmas is an escape from the exigencies of the moment. On Christmas, people expect the prosaic, not the prophetic – and certainly not more than ten minutes of that.

I’m especially grateful to have these six days to get ready. Ready or not, however, Christmas is almost here.

About Brant Copeland

I was born in Brownsville, Texas, grew up in San Antonio and in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I'm the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Tallahassee, Florida.
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6 Responses to The Hopes and Fears of the Next Four Years

  1. John Gladney says:

    Thank you Brant

    >

  2. Carole Flink says:

    The message and the promise of Bethlehem is of hope and peace and love. Certainly this year we need that more than ever.

  3. Robert R. Llewellyn says:

    And to say nothing about the selection of December 25 in the first place, or the changes in calendars since the nativity, or the fact that the setting of the nativity is anything but winter. It is good to hear your words.

  4. Suzie Johnston says:

    Listen to the Spirit, who tells us what to preach.

  5. Good to read . Hello from the RGV.

  6. j.s.martin@blueyonder.co.uk says:

    We hope you and Andra had a very happy Christmas, in spite of Trump’s trumperies. We too are fearful for America and the world but can do nothing except pray, wait. and see what happens. I think he will get some shocks in the reactions to his policies, and I hope Congress will at least rein him in a bit.

    We had a good Christmas here with Rena and the children, after church in the morning. I have not seen Jean yet this week but I heard she was in good form. On Monday afternoon Rena and the girls and I went to the theatre to see Alice in Wonderland, a very bizarre story (though I know it well), and in the play disjointed by being crammed into a couple of hours. It was good fun when the White Rabbit came up to the Upper Circle at the end and showered us with little white paper tears!

    Love to both, Jenny

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