“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-21
Now that the Fourth Week of Advent is upon us, our daily lessons finally turn us toward consideration of our Lord’s incarnation and birth at Bethlehem. It’s about time! We have trudged and danced and hurried and slept and fretted and fussed through three weeks of Advent, and perhaps, just perhaps, these last days before the Christ-mass will find us with a bit of quiet and silence and solitude to prepare our hearts and minds for our celebration of the Nativity of our Lord.
As a parish pastor for thirty years, I developed a strategy early on of completing sermons, bulletins and necessary parish preparations as early as possible, but at least before the Fourth Sunday in Advent. This allowed me, as pastor, to have needed time for reflection and preparation. I was able to take a breath before four worship services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!
If you haven’t taken a breath yet in your mad dash from the Thanksgiving holiday toward the stable and manger, then today is a good day to stop, pause, and consider the majesty, mystery and magnitude of God become flesh to dwell among us. No one will be well prepared to celebrate the Christ-mass without time for listening, once again, to the good news of Emmanuel, God with us. And nowhere in Scripture is this good news proclaimed more clearly and profoundly than in the above passage from the daily lectionary.
What is Christmas about? Why did God become human? Why did God the Father send His only begotten Son to die for us?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Please take time—make time—to hear these words, meditate upon them and digest their deep meaning before celebrating the Nativity of our Lord.
Thank you, God—for your great love for us, manifested in the gift of your only Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prepared by David Wendel, North American Lutheran Church