Let us pray: Dear Savior, as we begin a new church year, enliven and quicken our hearts to the dangers that surround us, but especially to the salvation and strength that You bring! For then we can embrace Your birth and the new year with confidence and joy instead of fear and worry. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST THE COMING CHRISTMAS KING!
TEXT: Luke 21: 25-36
Dearly Beloved by Christ:
Have you compiled your Christmas lists yet? They seem endless. There’s the card/letter list, the gift list, the food menu, the events schedule and more. Then there’s the end-of-the-year list of financial “stuff” and tax issues. Checklists help get us ready to soldier through the holidays.
One of the Advent themes concerning Christ’s coming is: Christ is coming, or the end of time. That’s the big one. It’s ongoing through life. Here Jesus begins by compiling for us a checklist of events for this inevitable day. All of you are aware of what’s on it: celestial signs, oceans in tumult, and discord around the world. These will precede His return. Scary stuff. Are you ready to meet Him?
Then Jesus adds: ”This generation (or race, in some manuscripts) will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” Immediately He adds some comforting words, however; “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall never pass away.”
All of His words of judgement against sin and human evil will stand. But so will His Gospel! Words like: “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Words like: “Fear not! For today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, Who is Christ the Lord.” Words like: “Rise and go, your faith has made you well.” Words like: “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” Yes, even amid seeming hopelessness, Jesus comforts and uplifts and protects His people!
And now we come to His checklist of how He does it. “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life…and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
God’s Word stands fast and true. Jesus said that earlier. So the checklist for you to do likewise comes directly from, and must be built on, God’s Word. Here it is: 1. Remember your baptism regularly and thank God for it! 2. Renew daily your new birth from the Spirit’s indwelling at baptism with daily repentance and thanks. 3. Feed your faith weekly at church keying in on the absolution whereby Christ cleanses you from sin and makes you stronger. 4. Commune as often as you can. For if the resurrected Savior’s body dwells in you, you are and will stand firm with Him. 5. Pray. Do so without ceasing as the Bible says. Talk to Him about your priorities and then address them with Him daily. 6. Search out Godly concepts in the Bible which shape and mold everything you do—all for His glory and your own well-being. 7. Don’t be afraid! Fear results from focusing on human helplessness and our God and His Gospel are not helpless.
Advent is a time to enliven our conscience and not to deaden it! Today’s Christmas/Advent checklist is God’s venue to make that happen. And then, come what may, either on Dec. 25th, Jan. 1st, or the final day—He’ll make you ready to stand along side of Him in paradise. Amen
THE peace of God which…..
Pastor Thomas H. Fox