I was challenged by a sermon last Sunday to spend time looking at one or more of the disturbing images presented in the Bible readings set for the Advent season.
My preference is the image of light, the idea of the new day soon to dawn after night (Romans 13: 12) or the lighting of Advent candles. Just looking at pictures selected on this blog to represent Advent,such as the one at the top of my Advent and Christmas page, I seem to go for the warm and light-filled images.
Last Sunday's gospel (Matthew 24: 36 - 44) included two disturbing images of the coming of the Lord: a catastrophic flood and a thief breaking into a house at night. Rather than dwelling on such signs of coming judgement at a time known only to God, wouldn't we prefer to concentrate on preparing for the baby wrapped in cloths in the manger? So much more cosy.
Next Sunday's gospel (Matthew 3: 1 - 12) is about as far from cosy as you can get. The wild desert prophet John the Baptist shouts that the One who is coming has his winnowing fork in his hand and
"he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
No - Advent is not a comfortable time, but I think sometimes those of us who like to escape into comfort need to be disturbed. What do you think?
Image Credit: found on this post in 'My Meditations' blog. If this infringes copyright please tell me.