Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Throughout my life, I was taught never to think too highly of myself. I was encouraged to be strong, but I also was taught a great deal about humility. I was taught from the earliest I can remember about this odd thing called “Christian perfection” (more wholeness and completeness than flawlessness), and I was taught proclaim that boldly. Yet there was also always this admonition never to let it ever be about me and my own ego because “pride goes before the fall.” It was a true tightrope for this young man still learning what faith was all about yet being the one who was preaching g faith.
Today’s message is about how much God sees in us and how God intends to use us to bear Christ to the world. Paul is reminding us about something important. It is about readying ourselves for the advent of Christ in our lives. We are those who are called to be the Body of Christ, and as such, the reason for us to be sanctified, keeping our spirits, souls, and bodies sound and blameless, are because these bodies of ours are the place where Christ is made known.
To be a witness is not to recall factually the story of Jesus. It is to LIVE the story of Jesus … to tell the story of Christ through our own bodies, with our own voices, and by the ways we are present in the world. The purpose behind Paul’s moral imperatives here is to provide for people a cleaner lens through which they may see Christ living in each of us.
So as we move into the last days before the celebration of Christmas, we will experience the harried shopping and preparation that so often define this season, and it will likely bring more frustration as we try and envision our celebrations in the midst of a pandemic. We are given an opportunity, however, to reflect a Christ of light and hope into a world full of darkness and despair.
So today, friends, you are the vessel God is choosing to reflect this Christ into our world. May Christ be born in you!
Lord, you are always faithful, and we hear your call to a faithful representation of the Christ who lives among us … as we prepare ourselves for the advent of your love. Amen.