In the Fullness of Time

In the Fullness of Time

Our scriptures for today, the first Sunday after Christmas, the 7th day of Christmas : Isaiah 61:10-62:3; Psalm 148; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:22-40.

In this sermon, Pastor Wayne reflects on the post-Christmas period, acknowledging the varied experiences people have had during the holiday season. Pastor Wayne criticizes the stress and pressure associated with the pursuit of a “perfect” holiday celebration, emphasizing that the current form of Christmas celebration differs significantly from its original purpose – a celebration of the joy brought into the world through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Wayne questions why Christmas has become a stressful time for many and suggests a return to the joy expressed in biblical passages, citing examples from Isaiah and the Psalms. The sermon explores the concept of the “fullness of time” as a divine timing that orchestrated events, leading to the birth of Jesus. An essay by Betty Newman is shared, highlighting how God worked through historical events during the “400 silent years” between Malachi and Matthew.

The sermon then turns to the biblical account of Simeon and Anna encountering the infant Jesus at the temple. Simeon’s prophetic words about Jesus’ destiny and the impact on Mary are discussed. Pastor Wayne draws parallels between the joy and awareness of hope that Simeon and Anna experienced and the loss of ritual and sense of mystery in modern Christian life.

A critique of the decline of rituals in contemporary Christian culture is presented, attributing it to busy lifestyles and secular influences. The loss of rituals is seen as contributing to a sense of disintegration in communities and families, especially during times of crisis, like the recent worldwide events. Pastor Wayne calls for a rediscovery of rituals that recognize the sacredness of life and the presence of God in everyday experiences.

The sermon concludes by urging Christians to share the joy of their faith through actions rather than imposing beliefs on others. Rediscovering rituals, embracing a sense of awe and wonder, and acknowledging the presence of God in both celebrations and mundane aspects of life are emphasized as ways to find joy amid life’s challenges. The sermon concludes with a call to face hectic lives with joy, attributing this joy to the living Christ within each individual.