Christmas comes earlier every year. At least the Christmas season starts earlier every year. Haven't we all preached some sermon like that? The pastor takes on the culture and invites the congregation to hold out for a more meaningful celebration of Christmas. The season that starts now is not Christmas but Advent. Thankfully, the Advent season always starts at the same time. The four Sundays of preparation have some order and method to them. The Advent theme of waiting and preparation comes through the hymns, the candles on the wreath, the words of the prophet, the gospel texts.
“And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.” (v. 52b)
Good morning whoever is out there.
I hope you boys and girls are here this morning. Since I can't see you, let me know if you are actually present. (have the children touch and/or speak and/or sing) (Humor works, like have the children repeat something silly like, “Good morning fantastic, awesome, most highest lord pastor/teacher”)
I remember going to a Lent group years ago, where the priest gave all us lay folk a piece of paper and a pen and asked us to write down what we knew about Jesus. He didn't want us to write down what we'd been told about Jesus or read about Jesus, but simply what we knew for ourselves from our own experience.
I ended up with a blank sheet of paper, but one person wrote, "I know that Jesus saves me." That led onto an interesting discussion along the lines of: saves you from something? Or for something?