This Sunday is the last Sunday in the season of Advent. There are four Sundays prior to Christmas in which the focus to one degree or another is on “the arrival”, “the beginning” or “the dawning” of Jesus. We dwell upon the fact that He has come once as a baby in Bethlehem and He will return again as the King of all that conquered sin and death.
The season of Advent in the Church calendar is to remind us that we live in an “in-between time” at the moment. We live in the finished work of Jesus each day and we anticipate the day that we enter our eternal home through God’s grace. How should we live with one foot in the power of the resurrection and one foot in this broken world? How should we live fully in today as we anticipate our face to face eternal meeting with our Savior?
The answer is found in the theme of our message this upcoming Sunday – the third article of the Apostles’ Creed.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the Body and the life everlasting. Amen.
The complexities and the difficulties of our lives are met in the provision found in this article of the creed. God will continue to communicate His promises to us through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God dwells within us and illuminates the truth of Scripture to guide us to the truth as well as living lives of meaning and joy. The Spirit also works as God’s people live together as the Church and a community of grace and truth.
Jesus has made it very clear that we are not left on our own to find our way through life. He tells us in the Gospel of John that He will send the “comforter” and “counselor” to meet our needs. We are not alone. The Spirit of God will give us the truth and show us the way. I truly believe that the Holy Spirit is continuously guiding me and giving me what I need for life. The question is – will I listen? In I Corinthians 2 Paul invites us to seek God’s answer as we journey through life.
10 These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.
May the truth of Advent fill each of you this season through the power and clarity of the Holy Spirit!
Two weeks from today is Christmas. How do you feel about that?
The past few days a number of people have asked me, “How can I pray for you?”
My answer has been fairly consistent, “Pray that I will enjoy this season.” If you are like me you really enjoy the season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – so why is it so hard to have a truly joy filled Advent and Christmas?
Well, let’s see:
· Insurance registration deadline of December 15th
· Busyness of life in the Church
· Eating too much
· “No time” for exercise
· Shopping [I really do very little but I still hate it]
As I reflect on that little list; I need to tell myself, “Buck up and be thankful!” Wow, am I blessed. I am a child of God, I have a family at home and at Oak Hill, I have been given so much and I have an opportunity to give to others.
I have always struggled a bit, maybe more than a bit, with living fully in the moment. My mind races on all kinds of things and there is always a temptation to go over my message in my mind one more time. It is because of this tendency to only living partially in the immediate moment that I have my greatest regrets.
I can remember Jack and Solveig running around the house in New York asking me to time them. Off they would race and I would review my outline when they were out of view. When they came around the corner into my view again I would look up and see their beaming faces - but in reality I only saw them partially because my mind was elsewhere.
I confess this to you as an encouragement to live in “the today” and in the season. This is the day the Lord has made and we are called to actually live it for all it is worth. Now, that is not meant to be a statement that makes us feel bad. It is meant to be a statement of invitation to live a life of meaning and of joy without regrets.
So here we are… it is the wonderful and activity filled time of the year that propels us towards Christmas and 2015. What is our God calling us to be and to do? What is He inviting us to see and enjoy? What are the burdens and difficulties that we are in need of placing in His capable hands? It is Advent – your Loving Savior Jesus has come and your Conquering King Jesus is coming again.
Pastor Nick Mundis