The Thessalonians were looking for Christ’s return and expecting it to occur very soon. Paul wrote to give them some practical direction in how they should live in view of this anticipation. We’ll see that in the readings for chapter’s 2 & 3. Today’s reading focuses on the greeting of the letter, where I was struck by Paul’s prayer beginning in verse 11,
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul’s prayer presupposes that the Thessalonians were purposing to perform good deeds and were planning works of faith. Paul prays that God would, by his power, see those purposes and plans fulfilled.
Truly, the Advent season we are now observing is also a time of waiting for the coming of Christ. In that way, we are very much like the Thessalonians. As we anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus, perhaps we can appropriate Paul’s prayer and see it fulfilled in our lives as well. In order to do that, we must, like the Thessalonians, resolve to perform good deeds and plan for works of faith. Take a few moments and reflect on how God would like to use you this Advent season. Consider the many opportunities in our family, church, and community. What would you resolve or plan? Where, with God’s power, could you make a difference?
The fulfillment of Paul’s prayer in our lives during this Advent season would be a wonderful Christmas gift – “… our Lord Jesus would be glorified in [us], and [us] in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ”.