December 2023

Preparing for Jesus           

Over the last few weeks we’ve been reflecting on the return of Jesus while reading through Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica. Advent was approaching and is now upon us, and the lessons were good preparation.

When I told Carol Hepting that these lessons were to help us prepare for advent, she laughed, “So we are preparing for preparing for Jesus’ arrival. I suppose we can’t be too prepared!” Well, no, I don’t think we can in this case.

Most of our focus at advent and Christmas is on the moment in history when Jesus was born, when he came into the world.

However, we are also preparing for the advent of Jesus in our lives, today, as the carol says,

“O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.”

And last of all advent looks toward the return of Jesus coming to earth to judge the living and the dead,

“For lo the days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old

When with the ever circling years shall come the time foretold

When the new heaven and earth shall own the prince of peace their King”

Every Advent and Christmas, we are inspired by Mary’s courage to say “Yes” to God’s shocking plan. We also look to Mary as a model of our own calling. The church is to bear Christ in the world and on our own, we are to strive to invite God to live within us.

Advent summons us, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” We wake up and ready ourselves by paying attention to our lives. The things we do either contribute to Christ’s life in us or to the corruption of our life.

May we be strengthened in our inner beings through God’s Spirit and may Christ may dwell in our hearts. Amen.

With love, Pastor Joel 


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