Friday, December 20, 2013

A Different Kind of Advent

It is time to stand together Church!  Battles on all sides surround us, pushing us to lay down our crosses and retreat.  Our own brothers and sisters are being tortured and killed.  Some are being forced to be silent about their convictions.  We are not understood.  We are different.  We must however stand up under the weight of trouble together, bearing one another's burdens in prayer and support. 

I feel helpless to even pray for those who are risking their lives for the sake of the gospel, for their faith in Jesus Christ.  I live in the US.  In a safe neighborhood.  I attend a church that I am free to go to.  I lift my hands to God and I don't know what to say.  The bible tells me that this trouble will come.  People will not understand God's ways or why I follow Him, but that we can still find strength in Him and in His Church.

I grew up in a Lutheran church, I now attend a Presbyterian church.  I have a good friend who goes to a Baptist Church and another who is Catholic, several of my neighbors attend a non-denominational church, a stranger prayed on the phone with me who went to who knows what kind of Christian church.  So what is my point?  Together we can be in prayer.  Together we can love on our neighbors.  Together we can fight for what is right and true as long as we have saving faith in Jesus Christ that comes from Him alone, in common.

And yet all of this feels like it has nothing to do with Christmas, or does it?  You've heard people say, "are you ready for Christmas?"  I've said it many times already this season, but my answer is always "Yep!" not because my house is clean and ready for guests or because my shopping is done or all the gifts are wrapped.  None of that will ultimately matter if your heart is not ready for Christmas and the coming of Jesus himself.  He may not be coming on December 25th or the day after or the day before, no body knows when, but at Christmas time we wait with HOPE that the day WILL come and we ready ourselves as Christians in a different way for Christmas.  As a Church, the Big C, we prepare for Christmas and the coming of Christ by being united.  What greater hope and peace can we share with the World than by showing unity among such a diverse group of people?  At your dinner table on Christmas or at your Christmas Eve services look around.  We come from all walks of life and yet God has called us to be One in HIM. 

No matter what is going on in the world, your home, your church or even your heart we can WAIT with expectation that Jesus is coming.  The struggles will not end here.  Sin and his master will continue to fight and wage war, but true victory has already come on the cross. 

I am ready for Christmas, how about you?

"...But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord."  Joshua 24:15

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