This Sunday we get a chance to rejoice before the coming of Christmas. We don our rose vestments, light the rose candle, and sing songs of rejoicing as we near the end of our long wait for the Christ-Child. However, throughout this time of preparation for Christmas I have heard so much complaining about so many things. People are so unhappy with the economy, family, life, work, and yes, even church.
Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of things to complain about. We continue to hear of the terrible war in the Ukraine, the terrible economic news from around the world, and then we have the terrible way Christian’s treat each other. So many Christians today have decided that they are the judge, jury, and executioner of other Christians.
Yet in our readings this Sunday, we are called to not complain about each other. We are called to be patient and loving to one another. Jesus speaks so loving toward John the Baptist as he sits in prison awaiting death for challenging the abuses of the King. How very far we have strayed from the message of Jesus. “Christian” attack the innocent, those who proclaim a Gospel of Love, and those who are different from them. What has happened to modern day Christians?
We light the rose candle this Sunday and we realize that we are almost at Christmas morn. The Christ-Child is almost here. Are our hearts ready to receive him? Are we the kind of Christian we should be? Do we love our neighbors as ourselves?
I want to close with this thought. A pastor I know recently made a video in which he says the following things. Reflect on these words and ask yourself, “What kind of Christian am I?”
What the Hell did you expect me to do? You told me to love my neighbors, to model the life of Jesus, to be kind and considerate, and to stand up for the bullied. You told me to love people, consider others more important than myself. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. We sang it together, pressing the volume pedal, and leaning our hearts into the chorus. You told me to love my enemies, to even do good to those who wish for bad things. You told me to never hate anyone and to always find ways to encourage people. You told me it’s better to give than to receive, to be last instead of first. You told me that money doesn’t bring happiness and can even lead to evil, but taking care of the needs of others brings great joy in life and to the soul. You told me that Jesus looks at what I do for the least of these as the true depth of my faith. You told me to focus on my own sin instead of trying to police it in others. You told me to be accepting and forgiving. I paid attention and took every lesson and I did what you told me. But now you call me a libtard, a queer lover. You call me woke, a backslider. You call me a heretic, a child of the devil. You called me a false prophet, a reprobate leading people to the gates of hell. You call me soft, a snowflake, a socialist. What the hell did you expect me to do? You passed out the What Would Jesus Do bracelets. I took it to heart. I thought you were serious. Apparently not! We were once friends, but now the lines have been drawn. You hate nearly all the people I love. You stand against nearly all the things I stand for. I’m trying to see a way forward. But it’s hard when I survey all the hurt and the harm and the darkness that comes in the wake of your beliefs and presence. What the hell did you expect me to do? I believed it all the way. And I’m still believing it all the way! Which leaves me wondering, what happened to you? (Pastor Chris Kratzer)