The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.” – Jeremiah 33:14-16
“Stand firm, and you will win life.” – Luke 21:19
December 1, 2015: Here we go. It’s December already and (yes, I acknowledge I’m writing in clichés) I can’t get over how fast the last couple of months have rolled by.
To say I’m “not ready for Christmas” would be both an understatement and another cliché; but isn’t that why we have Advent? I mean, we’re not supposed to be ready this early, are we? At least not until we have made some preparations. And Advent is how we prepare.
I talk to people all the time – especially around the last few days before Christmas – and they’ll say things like, “Next year I’m going to get ready for Christmas in the context of my faith…” or, “Next year I won’t let it get away from me like this…” or, “Next year I’m going to read your book…”
So now it’s next year. The ball is in your court. How are you going to get ready? Are you going to “do” Advent? Or do you plan on being disappointed again?
THE END OF THE WORLD! Sunday morning Rebekah looked out over the crowd at church – more than 460 people – and she read scripture from Jeremiah about the destruction of Jerusalem, and shared the word from Jesus about, “The end of the world as we know it” (Yes, she even sang part of the R.E.M. song).
“I know what you’re all thinking,” she said. “You’re thinking, why isn’t Rebekah talking about Christmas trees and tinsel and lights and hope and peace and the sweet story of a baby in the manger?”
But of course that’s why Jesus came – this is why Jesus comes. It needs to be “the end of the world as we know it.” The world as we know it is lost, broken, tearing itself apart; full with greed and avarice; defined by everything that stands in opposition to hope, peace, joy, and love.
It’s a world standing in need of a savior.
SCRIPTURE: During the scripture readings, two phrases caught my attention:
- First, from Jeremiah – “The Lord is our righteousness.’”
- Then, from Luke – “Stand firm, and you will win life.”
I love the simplicity of Christ’s teaching. Stand firm. Stand firm rooted in promise, the promise Jeremiah reiterated in the same breath that he was calling destruction down on his home town! “Stand firm in me!” Jesus invites us. “That’s how you will win life!”
Life: the life-charged life; the live-like-you-mean-it life; the abundant life; the life that is truly life!
It’s the first week of Advent! Let’s not miss out on life!