12 Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
This is the second Sunday in Advent and this is a season of tradition. You may have a tree up at your house or an advent wreath on the table. Perhaps you go caroling or give presents to loved ones. We have a young tradition at this church of having a lessons and carols service during advent. All of these traditions make for a memorable Christmas season. In some respects even the Church calendar is a tradition, after all it does not appear that Jesus was born on December 25th.
What is the purpose of tradition? To paraphrase Edith Schaefer: Traditions are great gifts, meant to guard and protect the greater gifts. It is the most attested historical fact in all the world that Jesus Christ came into the world for the Salvation of man. That He was born of a woman, lived, was crucified and buried, the third day He rose again from the dead and ascended again to His Father. Our traditions at this time of year are great gifts and ought to be received as gifts but, they are not the greatest gift.
Candles on your mantle are not substitutes for the light of the gospel. Evergreen trees are great; everlasting life – greater. Carols are great; worshiping in Spirit and in Truth – greater. The church calendar is great – the advent of Jesus Christ in the hearts of men and women – greater by far. Come let us worship our Lord and God.