Next year I’ll do things differently. Do you find yourself thinking that in the weeks following Christmas? Maybe you resolve to spend less money next year or to travel fewer miles or, on the other hand, perhaps to make a long-postponed visit to family or friends. But I would guess that for most of us, the major change we would make is to spend more time focusing on the real gift of Christmas, God’s Son made man to be our Savior.
Instead of waiting till after Christmas, why not act on that now in these Advent weeks leading up to our celebration of Christ’s birth? Now is the time to “get it right” for this year. It begins with taking our eyes off the outward signs of the season like trees, lights, and gifts, and then shining the light of God’s Word deep within our own hearts.
What we’ll see in us by nature is not pretty. The Apostle Paul summed it up well: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature” (Rom. 7:18). At this time of year the world focuses on the goodness of humankind and imagines “peace on earth” as a goal achievable through cooperative effort. Be good and good will come to you. But all of that only masks the sin which is within all of us.
Rather than pretend sin is not there, the Lord leads us to “get it right” by confessing it in sorrow and turning from it. It’s not pleasant to really look at oneself and see how desperate our situation is, but it is the way the Lord prepares us for the true joy Jesus brings. To those mourning their sin, God brings glorious news: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’S hand double for all her sins” (Is. 40:1-2). As we will hear in one of the lessons tomorrow: “Rejoice in the Lord always!”
Yours in Christ,
Services tomorrow are at 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. The choir will sing in first service. Christmas Eve rehearsal for the children begins at 9:15 a.m. Adult Bible class meets in the activity room at 9:30 a.m. The public school confirmation class meets at 12:00 p.m.
Online giving option: Online giving for the Lord’s work is now available at this link: https://messiah.churchtrac.com/give. Whether online or in-person, may our giving be a willing and generous fruit of faith. “Each one should give as he has determined in his heart, not reluctantly or under pressure, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7)