It’s Beginning to Look a lot like St. Andrew’s Day

The one-word holiday slogans have returned. You can see them outside of department stores and in commercials: JOY. BELIEVE. PEACE. HOPE. They are words rooted in Christian imagery but have been denuded of their Christian ties. BELIEVE in what? The power of 35 percent off and free shipping? HOPE for what?

If we are not careful, Advent can become a generic time of “hope.” By this, I mean that hope has turned into a slogan rather than the hope that God promises in His Word. Like faith, hope is only as good as what it is placed in.
In many years (including this one), St. Andrew’s Day interrupts Advent. It seems like a strange intrusion — a feast day for an Apostle at the beginning of the season of waiting and anticipation. We begin singing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” and prepare for Christmas, however, this calendar day celebration surprises us.

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ ... One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah (which means Christ).’ He brought him to Jesus.”
John 1:35-42a, ESV

I don’t think it is a mistake that St. Andrew’s Day falls on Nov. 30. What Andrew testifies to, what he drags his brother to see, is not simply hope in the abstract but hope in a person.

As Christians, we have faith that God has done something about the broken world and the hope that God will finish what he began to heal it. That is why Andrew’s story works so well. He saw Jesus and he went and told his brother about him. “This is the promised one we’ve been waiting for!”

In his hymn, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,” the great lyricist Charles Wesley wrote:

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Andrew was right. Jesus was the one that they were waiting for, so long ago. He’s the one the whole world was waiting for. He is the one that you and I have been waiting for. He is our hope.

The Collect for St. Andrew’s Day
Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give us, who are called by your Holy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Eric Priest
Lay Associate Pastor
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