November 30, 2023
As you have heard, this Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Often, by November 30, we are already into the Season of Advent, but the way the calendar fell this year, it is actually the latest possible start date for Advent. With tomorrow being the first day of December and with every store in full Christmas mode, I feel as if we should already be well into Advent. It sort of feels as if we are in uncharted territory. And since Advent is the time of preparation for Christmas, let’s call these days leading us to the first Sunday of Advent a time to prepare for the time of preparation. Even though I sort of chuckle at the thought, I wonder how many of us need some intentional preparation just so we can enter the time of preparation well prepared. Call it pre-prep. We can laugh, but the Bible is filled with stories about people preparing. Whether it was Israel in the Wilderness, one of the prophets in the desert, or someone visiting the mountaintop, getting ready for the next thing was never an afterthought. So for this almost ready-to-get-ready time, I hope you will ask yourself, “What do I need to be doing to make the next thing (which happens to be Advent and then Christmas) the best expression of my faith that is possible?”
Today is an excellent day to get ready for whatever it is that you might be inviting me to do, Gracious God. I don’t want to feel rushed or unprepared, so help me to put in place whatever is necessary so that my convictions are able to come alongside the greatest need. Amen.
November 29, 2023
Today is the feast day of St. Illuminata, a 4th-century woman who was executed after taking the name of Christ. It is interesting that we know very little about her, though there is a church with her name in Todi, Italy, the presumed site of her burial plot. As I think of all the churches named after someone, I realize how almost all of these individuals were killed because of their faith. I don’t know of an example of some average Joe whose name is now etched on the stone sign out front of a church simply because he had pretty good attendance on Sunday morning (well, unless he had a lot of money and paid for the church building). Is it shallow to hope that I never have a church named after me? With that said, I doubt St. Illuminata set out to have a church named after her. Since we know very little about her, I’m only guessing—but I’d guess she was only loving her God as best she knew how. In the Season of Advent, as we remember God humbling the divine nature and choosing to take on flesh, we realize God wasn’t looking for naming rights. Instead, God was seeking to make the unconditional love of God real in hopes of changing the world.
Continue to undergird my faith, O Lord, so I might find new ways of showing your love through humility and mercy. Amen.
Rev. Bruce Frogge