There is a new phrase (at least new to me) that is making the rounds. It usually is offered by younger people or by sports commentators, and it goes something like this: “I’m not sayin’- I’m just sayin’”

I heard a sports commentator recently use it this way: “I’m not sayin’ their defense is bad, I’m just sayin’ they rank last in the league in giving up points.”

It is an interesting phrase. It is used to stop short of being accusatory or judgmental, but it goes on to state a truth that is obvious. Sometimes I hear it being used in short-hand such as, “I’m not say’ it is (blank), I’m just sayin’ …” The end of that sentence, the obvious fact, is actually omitted, because it does not need to be stated.

An interesting phrase. I personally like it and think it is healthy. A church consultant might say to a local congregation, for example, “I’m not sayin’ this church is dying, I’m just sayin’ you don’t ever seem to have any new professions of faith.” A lay member of a congregation might say to a pastor, “I’m not sayin’ you are a bad preacher, I’m just sayin’ we don’t get much out of your sermons.” Or a pastor might say to a congregation, “I’m not sayin’ this is a cheap church, I’m just sayin’ our stewardship is poor.”

I am not sure that phrase is very good grammar, but it may be effective. Such a phrasing may help us to state the facts without judging or labeling one another. Such a phrasing might help us to hear one another’s criticisms or concerns more easily.

So here is my Advent version of that phrase:

I’m not sayin’ it is time to get ready for Christmas, I’m just sayin’ that Christ is coming!

The problem with the Advent Season is that it comes just before Christmas, and we too easily get caught up in Christmas preparations so that we miss the real message: Christ is coming. We state that truth in our communion liturgy, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” Yet we seldom talk or preach about the good news of Christ coming into our midst again and in new ways. Advent is the season to focus upon that good news, and yet we in the church often miss that message by only preparing for Christmas. So here is my reminder:

I’m not sayin’ it is time to get ready for Christmas, I’m just sayin’ that Christ is coming!