‘May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (v23) 1 Thessalonians 5:16–24
Today is the first day of Advent. It introduces our seasonal Christmas preparation. Known as the lesser fast, it offers disciples an opportunity to prepare their hearts for Jesus; not simply focusing upon remembering the incarnation, but more looking towards Christ’s return (Mark 13:26).
The subject of Christ’s return is not much talked about today, yet offers a significant reason for obeying Jesus. In our busyness, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Christmas increases the intensity as we seek to organise for what’s a long public holiday. It’s a season when we can quickly forget God in the rush.
Focusing on Christ’s inevitable return, we get a better perspective on life, reminded that our life is lived in celebration of the promises realised through the incarnation, and fulfilled at Christ’s second coming.
So these days of Advent offer us an opportunity to invest some time and energy to consider how our lives reflect the character and promise of God on earth. It’s a tremendous time for witness as almost everyone still retains some idea of the biblical story of Christmas.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Luke 21:5–36; Acts 1:6–11; 2 Pet. 3:1–18; Rev. 21:1–8.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: Take this season of Advent and make it an opportunity to reflect on the source of our salvation, born in Bethlehem; begin to look forward to Christ’s return and live with that in view.
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, come and renew my hope and vision of Your saving grace. Amen.’
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