Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
HOPE…LOVE…JOY…PEACE! Are these not words the world is longing for?
NOTHING is the same as in years past, at least not in many of our memories. Thanksgiving dinners are not family affairs this year, but individuals giving thanks alone OR a few family members or friends who are gathered! Every day on the news we hear of more people who have been diagnosed with COVID 19 and the death rate is climbing. The world is out of sorts and lives are not going along as planned. The church is operating in a totally different mode than in the past…no soup and salad suppers here this year….and Christmas? Well, we will still celebrate, just not like we usually celebrate. (We still are unsure of what we are doing.)
Maybe this year we will truly begin to understand more than ever before the sense of longing in Advent. The people of Israel longed for the Messiah to come and set things right…to break into the darkness of captivity that surrounded them. The words we sing in the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” may reflect our longing and hope. The words call for “Emmanuel” (Jesus) to come and take out of captivity Israel, as she “mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.” Then come the words of HOPE… “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel!” This year the words may truly reflect the world in which we are living and the darkness and separation many are feeling! Israel HOPED for (and still hopes for) the Messiah to come. This year that HOPE is ours! This year in Advent it feels like we are at a loss, yet, maybe more than ever we will be preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ.
It is not primarily about the coming of Jesus as an infant, but the coming of Jesus a second time to claim His people, US, from the captivity of fear….loss….darkness….sadness….and upheaval all around us. God with Us is the theme for Advent this year! We are to continue in our lives of HOPE…LOVE…JOY…and PEACE! We are to be ready for Christ’s return and as never before. To LONG for Him in our hearts. We are to be a people who KNOW and BELIEVE that GOD is WITH us! The world has people focusing on illusions. Illusions that come in earthly gifts and lights. The world has people focusing on everything except preparing for the Lord of life . . the One for whom Christmas (Mass for Christ) is named. In this dark world where many are living in fear let us bear the LIGHT of CHRIST! The HOPE of the One who LOVES us! The HOPE of the One who gives us JOY and a PEACE that the world cannot give OR take away.
I promise you:
+We will be in the midst of our daily life . . . and Christ will come.
+We will be talking to someone one day . . .and Christ will come!
+We will be helping another . . .and Christ will come!
+We will be alone in prayer . . .and Christ will come!
Join us for our worship on Facebook (Bethel Lutheran Church Aurora, CO) or on our YouTube channel (Bethel Lutheran Aurora) for worship! Walk with us through Advent as we long for and know that Christ is coming!