Following the Star
Advent is a time of waiting. It is a time to prepare for the coming of Christ. But waiting doesn’t have to be boring, and preparation doesn’t have to be a chore.
Both can be filled with joy. And so we wait, with the joy of looking back and remembering God’s good works in the world and in our lives. And we prepare, bubbling with the delight-filled anticipation of setting up the party for an honored guest.
In hope, in trust, in thanksgiving, in joy let us lay our hearts before God.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
Beloved, pray for us. Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-26
I almost quit a marathon. My training line-up was plagued with injuries, so I wasn’t prepared. I’d also eaten every energizing gummy chew in my super-cool fanny pack and was famished! Two miles felt as undoable as a million. But at mile 24, a cup of donut holes was thrust into my hand. Within seconds, my energy returned. I knew that no matter how tough the race was, I’d been filled up. I could finish.
It is wholly inadequate to compare God to a donut. Still, in the journey of following Christ, it is God who energizes us to be faithful. That’s what sanctification is – God’s grace empowering us for God’s work. Over and over again, the Holy Spirit energizes us to stay on the path God lays out. That doesn’t mean we won’t stumble. But it means that the power we need to serve Christ doesn’t come from us; it is gifted from God. So it never runs out. “The one who calls us is faithful” and will make us ready to follow.
Thank you, God, for the gift of your Spirit. In those moments when following you seems the hardest, help me remember that you not only work to make me ready every day but you also fill me up with your good gifts that I might have the strength to follow. Trusting that you never set me up to fail, may I renew my commitment to follow you with joy. Amen.
“Turn around and believe that the good news that we are loved is better than we ever dared hope, and that to believe in that good news, to live out of it and toward it, to be in love with that good news, is of all glad things in this world the gladdest thing of all. Amen, and come Lord Jesus.”