The Reverend Alvin Shrum, Pastor

December 2018

Greetings Family and Friends of St. Johannes!

Ready or not, the Advent Season and Christmas are upon us. This special time of the year brings a reminder that we are to prepare for the advent of Jesus Christ. Luke Chapter 3 says: “…Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. ‘Every ravine will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be brought low; the crooked will become straight.'” (Luke 3:4-5).

So now that we have heard this message from the Holy Gospel, what does it mean to be a baptized and confirmed member of Christ’s holy Church? Just think of the metaphor our beloved Saint Luke is using in his Gospel. So how do we understand this metaphor of filling up gullies and straightening out roads? And more specifically, how do we (I) prepare my heart and mind to receive and embrace Jesus Christ this Advent and Christmas?

One might even ask: What mountains need to be leveled and made flat? Has my life become such a mountain of other stuff so much so that we cannot see God? Perhaps the song written and recorded by Johnny Nash, “I Can See Clearly Now” is an invitation to get all the obstacles out of our way so that the rainbow we’ve been praying for will culminate in a bright (bright) sunshiny day!

So where will your energy, time and focus be this Advent Season? Will we hear Luke’s mandate in Chapter 3 as verbose language or will it cause us to let go of stuff that is blocking or hindering us from being open to God? Another way of looking at Luke’s message is to ask: “Is there a mountain of hate, guilt or anger over some past wrong standing between us and God? If so, it is time to start, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, clearing the way and taking down those mountains of emotional stuff that block your way to God!

Also, we may have ravines or gullies that have been created by rejection or distance. But God wants to fill-in those gullies with forgiveness and hope and level a playing (loving) field of life. You see, we cannot allow the adversary of life to cause our human emotions and feelings to create gaps and gullies of hate and apathy.

So has your life become misguided or misdirected? Jesus is the answer. And this is what the Advent of God’s Incarnate is all about: He came to show us the better way; the way of love and forgiveness even when it is not popular. So what roads and gullies in your life need attention (think about it)? The answer can be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Go ahead, try Jesus…, and listen to His words and look at His actions in order to level the mountains and fill the gullies that hinder our view of God and His will in our lives.

So Advent is a new opportunity to prepare the way of Christ. May His love replace hate! May His forgiveness cause us to forgive! May His grace unite us! May His way cause us to change our way… and prepare for His coming, afresh and anew, this Advent and Christmas season! My prayer is that this will begin in each of us through personal reflection, prayer and preparation so that all obstacles in our way might be removed! God’s best is on the way! May you have a blessed, happy and bright
Son-shiny Advent and Christmas experience!

Yours in the Spirit and Advent of Christ,

Pastor Alvin Shrum