THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
4 December 2016
People try to sell me a lot of things.
Several years ago a man called to sell me a new kind of snow melt.
“It’s cheaper,” he said, “and it won’t make a mess in your buildings and ruin your carpets.”
I’ve always been a little leery of those kinds of phone calls,
but the man somehow knew how to pronounce my name, that got him a hearing.
In the end I agreed to buy a couple of pails of the stuff.
He said, “Ordinarily, I can only sell these in four pail lots, but for you I’ll make a special
deal since you’re a new customer wanting to be careful and all. Just two.”
The snow melt came and it really wasn’t any cheaper or better than the local stuff.
About a month after it arrived the man calls again,
“Just a heads up, father. I wanted to let you know that the other two pails
of that snow melt are on the way.”
“What two pails?” I said.
He said, “Well, now father, remember we talked about this a month ago
and I agreed to send you two pails of the four you had to buy right away
and then two pails later.”
“That’s not what I understood and that’s not what I agreed to do.” I said.
“Now father,” he said in a pretty condescending voice,
“Isn’t it pretty unChrist-like to go back on a deal?”
“I’m not feeling very Christ-like today,” I said.
He said, “I didn’t know you could switch it on and off like that.”
“Oh, but you can,” I said.
“Jesus gave us that power when we’re dealing with jerks.”
And I hung up.
Of course Jesus didn’t give us the power to turn our Christianity on and off,
you and I learned how to do it at an early age.
That becomes important for us particularly during this time of year
when a false kind of good-naturedness takes over.
We’re supposed to be a in a good mood, we’re supposed to be generous and kind
and happy, because it’s the season.
It’s the season we’re supposed to turn on our Christianity
In so many ways this season, this season which surrounds us has
Very little to do with Christianity.
The call today is not to “be happy” but to live as a disciple of Jesus.
Why? So we recognize him–around us,
Not in the glitz and glamour but in the poor and marginalized.
And that can’t be turned on and off–it takes a life time of trying.