Good morning:

The countdown has begun—only 24 days ‘til Christmas! Retailers won’t let you forget it. Over the next weeks they will unleash a constant barrage of email, mail flyers, and text reminders stressing that there’s no time to spare. You have to get ready before it’s too late and the opportunity is lost forever. Of course, it’s not as dire as all that. There will always be other times to shop. Sold-out merchandise will be restocked. There will be after-Christmas sales.

But there is another countdown that has been in progress from before the beginning of time. From eternity God determined that the earth would not stand forever. Just as He created all things by the power of His Word, so one day He will “un-create” all things and bring the world to a fiery end. It will also be the day on which Jesus returns to judge all mankind. “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10).

We count off the days before Christmas, but of the last day Jesus says, “No one knows about that day or hour” (Matt. 24:36). Will you be ready? How can we be prepared for an unknown day? Only by being watchful always! How can we be ready for the holy Judge when we are guilty of countless offenses against God’s Law? We cannot make things right with God by a concentrated effort at being more patient, kind, and helpful toward others. We can never make up for our lack of love toward God by reading the Bible more and praying more often. No one is getting to heaven by trying hard to be good.

There is only one way. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). Jesus is the Way. He kept the Commandments you broke yesterday. He paid the penalty we all deserved. He came once in humility to serve, so that when He comes again in glory to judge, He can pronounce us righteous by faith.

In tomorrow’s sermon text (Luke 21:25-36), Jesus urges us to keep our eyes focused on the divine countdown clock, so that whenever it reaches zero, we will be waiting and ready.

See you tomorrow,


Sunday services are at 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated.

Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m. and Adult Bible class at 9:45 a.m. Bible class thought-starter: Do Christians focus too much on family?

We hope that many will be able to join in the caroling tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. We will visit the Hales Corners Care Center and the two facilities on the Brenwood campus in Franklin. Afterwards, we’ll relax with a chili supper back at church. Bring your favorite chili and a few treats to share.

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