Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Six months ago Diana, Will and I came to Oakland and we have been blessed with adventure, excitement and the love of a whole lot of people. We are grateful that God has blessed us by bringing us to Oakland and all the faithful at Oakland UMC and anyone and everybody else that we have met in the community of Oakland. We thank you for letting us into your hearts and your lives and making us feel welcome. So, we say to you Merry Christmas and a big huge thank you for being you and the people of faith that you are.
--Diana, Will and Rev. Dennis Hopes
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our coldest night since last winter has just hit us and over this last weekend we had a little bit of snow. But that little bit of snow amazed me as it seemed to have knocked out a lot dish systems and a lot of Sunday afternoon television viewing for a lot of people. At least that is what I heard from others as I moved around the city of Oakland on Monday.
Personally, I called tech support because I couldn’t believe that what little snow we got could interrupt our television service. So when I called tech support we went through all the stuff to try to get my television going with no success. Our conversation ended with tech support telling me I could get a dish warmer or a visit from a technician and I declined both options.
So I got a ladder and climbed up on the roof and brushed the dish off and we had television! At least for the next three to four hours when the snow had once again started to cling to the dish. We love our screens, don’t we? I’ve got a television in the man cave with the NFL Direct TV package, a laptop, a smart phone and a Kindle.
I know that in today’s world and with the Iowa Annual Conference moving to almost 100% communication through e-mail, portals and web pages a device with a screen has become a necessity of life. Plus, the amount of resources that are out there through the world-wide web gives me an expanded library of opinions, thoughts and theologies from all over the world. And yes, you must be careful where you get your information from as it could lead to some very dangerous situations. As in the man entering a pizzeria with an AR-15 looking to be the lone ranger and breaking up a child trafficking operation in Washington DC this last week.
We already know that the screen can be a source of hours of entertainment and fun if used wisely. You can stream music, movies and television shows with just about anything that has a screen. Besides all that entertainment stuff we also have social media to keep in touch with people who we don’t even say hello to in the grocery store (that really has happened to me more than once).
So what does this have to do with Advent, Christmas and the coming of Jesus Christ?
We are told through the prophets and scriptures that we are to keep watch and stay awake as we do not know the hour or the time that Jesus will come. When he did come so long ago he was not in a conspicuous place but he was found in a manger wrapped in swaddling cloths. Jesus came in a way that was not expected and the world but for the few missed his grand entrance. It is promised the next time the signs of his coming and the new age he will usher in will be so cataclysmic that there will be no question that this is the real deal.
But just in case, I pray when that time comes that Jesus sends us emails, text messages or puts a video on YouTube because we just might miss his second grand entrance if he doesn’t give us a heads up (literally). When that happens I wonder what tech support would say if I called them up complaining I have no television signal? I know what Jesus would say. Take time to be holy!
See you Sunday!
Rev. Dennis Hopes