Friday, December 15, 2006

Isaiah 7:10-25; Psalm 31; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5; Luke 22:14-30

Having never written a devotional before, I set out thinking it shouldn’t be too bad. This is Advent, who doesn’t know the Christmas story? Then I received my readings, only to discover that Mary and Joseph weren’t even mentioned in my passages!

My initial shock having worn off, I considered the readings of today and how they fit into this season of Advent. According to the Webster’s dictionary, Advent is the arrival, especially of something momentous; the coming or birth of Christ.

The birth of Christ is indeed momentous. It’s a reminder of miracles, wonder, and love. But it’s the second part of Webster’s definition – the coming of Christ – that I wish to address. It pertains most to today’s readings, in particular 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5.

Paul has written a second letter of encouragement to the new believers in Thessalonica. Much like our society today, the Thessalonians were surrounded with pressures to conform to be part of a world that more often than not asks us to go against the very teachings of Christ.

In his letter, Paul reminds them, and ultimately us, of our eternal reward with God. He commands us to stand firm and hold to the teachings passed on to us. That can be difficult to do when our lives are so filled with busy-ness, especially as Christmas approaches.

How do we stand firm? We begin by remembering who we are – children of God. Like children, we learn through our understanding of the world around us: things we’ve seen, experienced, and read. We also learn from people who love and care for us, whose advice we may seek and whose lives influence us.

When we read the Bible, our understanding of the world and our place in it begins to take shape. Through the teachings passed down from generation to generation, God becomes known to us in a personal way. It’s his advice we seek through prayer, and it’s through prayer that a personal relationship grows. Our lives transform as we experience the unconditional love God has for us.

It’s in the very season of Advent that we see first hand that love in the gift of a child, a Savior. The very same Savior who lived among us, died for us, and who will one day come again.

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5.)

- Debbie Vereb

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