HOPE!

Our daughter, Christina was born on December 21st.  She loves Christmas! She calls one day to tell me how excited she is about Christmas and how she has already bought many of her gifts. She says, “I cannot wait for Christmas!”  I asked her, “Christina, are you waiting for Christmas or are you waiting for Christ?” After a long moment of pause and silence, she responds, “Both – Whichever comes first!”

Christmas Day is only now a few short weeks away. And, as we wait for the day to come there is so much to do! Our expectations are high!  Our days are filled with preparing for the big day!  We are putting up our trees, decorating the house, and going to Christmas parties.  We do all of these wonderful and fun things in our waiting!

What is the difference?  Isn’t Christmas about the coming of the Christ child?  Is Christmas not the reason we celebrate that special day? I believe the answer is ‘yes’ for most of us; however, I do believe there is a difference between waiting for Christmas and waiting for Christ.

In his gospel, Luke tells us what to expect when the end days are coming.  There will be wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, nations will rise against nations; you will be persecuted, betrayed, and hated because of your love for Jesus Christ.  You will see signs in the sun, moon, and stars; there will be confusion, the heavens will shake, and there will be so much fear that people will faint.  So, be on guard and make sure that your heart is not weighed down with all the things of this world.  Things like worry, self-indulgence, and dissipation so you are not caught unexpectantly when Jesus comes.  And, most of all, pray for strength when you are faced with these times of trial.

Isn’t it true that so many of these prophecies are already happening?  Jesus is coming again and that is a promise!  On Christmas day, we celebrate the coming of Christ!  However, in my experience, I go through a lot of work and spend a lot of money preparing and waiting for that special day.  And, within two hours of opening our gifts we have given each other, it seems to be over.  Our expectations of that day are so high that when it is done there is a certain amount of disappointment and let-down.

However, in our waiting and preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ, we have something that we do not have that Christmas morning.  We have ‘Hope.”  In this life, we are going to face times of trial, disasters, confusion, pain, and suffering.  But, in the end, we have ‘hope’ that we will continue to live in the presence of Christ! There will not be disappointment. We will not be let down. Jesus will far exceed any of our expectations!

Our gospel writer states, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28).  Redemption! Saved from sin!  Saved from evil!  Free to live a life with Christ!

We know the day of Christmas – December 25th.  But, we do not know the day when Christ will come again.  So, be on guard and make sure that your heart is not weighed down with all the things of this world.  Things like worry, self-indulgence, and dissipation so you are not caught unexpectantly when Jesus comes.  And, most of all, pray for strength when you are faced with these times of trial!

Whichever comes first – Christmas Day or Jesus Christ, waiting for Jesus to come again promises to be worth the wait!

About pastorterrihttps://pastorterri.wordpress.comI serve as the pastor at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Augusta, GA.

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