“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.”1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
Today we start our Advent journey, a journey from darkness to light.
Advent is my favorite liturgical season. I’ve always loved Christmas but many years ago, I discovered a deeper understanding of the Advent season during a dark period in my life, a time I needed the light of Christ to guide me.
Each week during this season brings a greater anticipation that draws us out of the darkness. Week one starts by lighting the candle of hope. Hope of the coming of Christ.
Over 2000 years ago, God’s people were oppressed by the Roman Empire. During that time, they were hopeful that God would send the Messiah to save them from this oppression. They awaited a savior, a king to rise up and deliver them from Caesar.
had another plan
He had a bigger plan. A plan of salvation from all things that oppressed his people – the deepest wounds of sin.
In the year 2021, are we any different than our brothers and sisters that lived during that time period of the Roman Empire? Do we need to be delivered from bondage?
Even today, the people of God need a savior to deliver them from oppression. God knew that these chains were greater than tyrant kings or government officials. They anchored deeper. Roots of sin drove into the hearts of His people.
He sent His son.
In order to fully receive the gift, our hearts need to be open and ready.
In todays readings from 1 Thessalonians chapter 3 and Luke chapter 21, we hear about this coming of Christ. As we anticipate this coming, God asks us to prepare our hearts. To “abound in love for one another… to be blameless in holiness.”
How will we answer this Advent season? Will we accept His invitation? Will we open our hearts to love one another? Even those who have done grave harm to us?
Happy 1st Sunday of Advent… May the HOPE of Christ enter your heart this week.