“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream…” Psalm 126:1
By the time this article hits the presses Thanksgiving will be behind us. As a pastor, that means it is time to move on to Advent.
I often struggle figuring out what to preach during Advent. You may be thinking, duh Mel, you preach about the birth of Jesus. Well that is true but the pressure is that everyone knows what is coming in that story.
So, I try to craft my Advent sermons so that we are talking about the birth of Jesus but also weaving in other things.
Last year I preached on some favorite Christmas hymns which by the way are often not about Christmas at all. A few years before that I preached about Christmas and Sabbath. (Have I mentioned that I have a soft spot for Sabbath?) This year I had no ideas.
Thankfully, the lectionary came to my rescue this year. If you are not familiar with what the lectionary is, it is a three year cycle of suggested texts that can be used to guide preachers in their sermons.
If you preach from the lectionary you will basically preach through the story of the Bible during the three year cycle.
Call me a rebel, but I rarely preach from the lectionary. However, this year for Advent, the suggested texts focus on the dreamers in the Christmas story and I am running with that idea in a series titled: Those who dream.
What I believe is interesting about those labeled dreamers is that at times dreamers can be viewed as positive or negative based on the context.
Some people view dreamers negatively as people who are not plugged into reality, that they have their heads in the clouds or maybe they’re even lazy.
Others view dreamers in a more positive light, as visionaries and leaders toward a better future.
Dreamers in the Scriptures have been viewed in both ways as they navigated through trials and looked forward to brighter futures.
As I have been preparing for these sermons, I have asked myself what kind of dreamer I am. I had a very pleasant dream last night. It was of a much happier time and I honestly did not want to wake up and face the reality that those days are behind me.
That is not the kind of dreamer I want to be, one that longs to stay asleep in order to hold on to something that is fleeting. Rather, I want to be a dreamer that wakes up with a dream of better days and stays “woke” as I do the hard work to make that dream a reality.
These are the kinds of dreamers I have found in the Christmas story and I believe these are the kinds of dreamers we need, as we face these very difficult days.
I would love to invite you to join me this Advent season, to remember the dreamers that we find in the Christmas story and become a dreamer yourself.
While we are not currently meeting in person for services, please join us for worship streaming online at Salida United Methodist Church Facebook page, or visit our website: www.salidaumc.org, as we dream of new ways to be a part of the story of Advent and Christmas 2020.
Blessings to all you dreamers in the coming days of celebration.
Rev. Melinda Roberts is the senior pastor at Salida United Methodist Church.