Oh No! It’s almost Advent season again! After thirty years of giving Advent sermons it is always a challenge to come up with a new sermon series around Christmas. There are only so many ways to talk about shepherds and donkeys.
Each year, when we share the Christmas Eve candlelight service, I remember the words of the Buddha on candles: “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single one, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
What Buddha taught by sayings, the gospel writers turned into stories. Their truth lies not in recapturing history, but in recapturing the experience people had of awakening. It is a mistake to choose to believe in the stories themselves. They are like seeds that only become true if we live them out.
It easy to love the porcelain Jesus of a nativity scene, but not so easy to realize that Jesus symbolized a potential within every person, as did Buddha. To love Jesus eventually means to fall in love with everyone and everything all at the same time. Christmas is a charming little scene, but Jesus has been stillborn unless the symbol grows into a love of and service to all humankind. To that end, our Advent series will look at the Christmas story as lessons in spiritual awakening.
Dec. 2: Isaiah: The point of prophecy is spiritual awakening today.
Dec. 9: The Star: Spiritual awakening tunes us to nature.
Dec. 16: Mary’s Song: Spiritual awakening calls us to activism.
Dec. 23: The Magi: Spiritual awakening is universal.
Dec. 24: The Manger: Spiritual awakening means a life of service.
Dec. 30: Herod: Spiritual awakening meets resistance from the powers that be.