November 28, 2021
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
READINGS AND PSALM
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Grace and Peace to you from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Spending time with someone gives you the opportunity to discover things about them and get to know them better. This is true for our relationships with each other, and our relationship with God. Not that God needs to learn anything more about us—but the more time we spend in God’s presence, the more His divine nature is revealed to us. During the month of December, we are going to be focusing on the person of Jesus Christ—spending some time with him, if you will. We’ll move beyond the cutesy Christ Child of Bethlehem with spotless diapers and not so much as a whimper, and we’ll see Jesus from a different perspective than simply the crucified Christ. And hopefully our time with Jesus will deepen our faith and firm up our commitment to live as his disciples.
So today we remember that Jesus has made a promise to us—He promised to return. So let’s focus on the truth that the Christ of Christmas is a Christ who will come again.
Walking down the streets of our towns, we’re likely to encounter two prevailing views of the world’s future. The first is a rather pessimistic view that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and there isn’t anything that we can do about it. The second agrees that we face significant challenges, but given enough time science and technology will save us.
The view that Jesus shared with his disciples, at first glance, seems vaguely similar to the dooms day scenario, but it’s distinctly different. Yes, there will be cataclysmic events in the heavens and on the earth, but in the end Jesus will return as King of kings and Lord of lords in all of his power and glory.
In the same way that Jesus enters into our lives bringing with him both power and peace, he will also return into the affairs of the world and establish his kingdom. Jesus doesn’t bring doom, but instead he brings hope.
Jesus tells his disciples that when they see the fig tree begin to leaf, they know that summer is near. In a similar way, we know that Jesus’ return is near when we see certain things happening. These things won’t and don’t tell us when he’s coming, but they emphasize the promise that Jesus made.
So many people have made a big business of predicting the second coming of Jesus. Several have become millionaires peddling their wares to a public who wants to know what the future holds. One of the problems connected with predicting Jesus’ return is that every generation believes that their generation is the one in which Jesus will fulfill his promise. The Christians of the first century thought Jesus would return then. Luther thought Jesus would return at his time. Many thought Jesus would return in the late 1800’s, some around 1988, and we can all remember the commotion at the beginning of the millennium.
Predicting the time that Jesus will return isn’t what Jesus wants his people to be preoccupied with. He simply wants us to trust in his promise, take comfort in it and live in its reality.
But we do need to be prepared. The times ahead will be scary. Jesus says that men will faint with fear. It will be tempting for us to worry.
Jesus warns against drunkenness and anxiety. Neither of those are appropriate or adequate responses to His promise to return.
The proper response is to live in knowing that God is in control and God holds us in the palm of his hand and be at peace with that.
Martin Luther said that if he knew that Jesus was going to return the next day he would go out and plant a tree. Luther’s surprising response simply underlines the truth that all Christians are to live their lives as if Jesus would come any time. Each and every day we should be busy sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and serving God by serving people.
The Christ who was born in Bethlehem will return to the world, but when Jesus returns, he won’t be a humble child. When Jesus returns he will be a mighty King and Lord.
And All of God’s People Say…Amen
GRACE: Neva Schmid, Lyn Wilds
GLORIA DEI: Ruth and Glenn Fraass, Julie Bond, Wayne and Patty Fraass, Holly Jones, Lezlee Anderson, Kathy Buttle, Lloyd Frerichs, Ernie Kahrs, Barb Namuth, Marge Jones, Pat Rufenacht, , Richard Bruns, Kimberly Valla Martinez, Dan Dickinson, Deann Larson, Anita Watkins, Gina Maytorena, Denny Franklin, Cathy Saali and family
BLESSING: And may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and + give you peace. Amen.