category: Advent

Advent Reflection: Day 4

Wednesday, December 1

Isaiah 1:24–31; Luke 11:29–32

At Christmas time we have much to celebrate in the coming of our Lord and Savior. We are reminded of the many blessings that God has given us, and especially of our salvation that was provided for us through an unlikely source, a baby who was born to humble beginnings. It is the celebration that God came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ to save all who would repent of their sins and place their faith in him.

At times it is hard to hear the harsh words of our Lord and Savior that declare God’s judgment and the need for repentance. During the holidays we would rather focus on family gatherings and Christmas feasts. We often get lost in the lights, the presents, and good cheer, but the Christmas season is not merely a cultural holiday of exchanging gifts and good tidings. Christmas is the celebration of the answer to our wickedness. Isaiah declared that the enemies of the Lord (1:24) and the sinners (1:28) shall be broken, and Jesus proclaimed that the only sign to be given to such a wicked people is the sign of Jonah (Luke 11:30). The sign that God gave Nineveh was the sending of the prophet Jonah to warn them to repent for their sins. The Ninevites were the worst of sinners and enemies of the Israelites, yet when they were called to repent, they feared God and turned from their wickedness. Likewise, Jesus, who is greater than Jonah (Luke 11:32), was sent to all of us with his message of repentance. This evil generation will not last, yet even sinners who repent and accept Christ will condemn those who are God’s enemies (Luke 11:29). Jesus proclaimed that all must repent and turn back to God in the same way that the Ninevites did. The words of Jesus are a sign to us all.

What is our response to the coming of the Lord? On Christmas we remember the gift of the baby Jesus, and it is a time of celebration, but we must also remember the work that he was sent here to do. God’s answer to our wickedness was fulfilled in Jesus’s preaching of repentance, death on the cross for our sins, and his resurrection to glory. He calls all of us to repent lest
we be judged with the wicked ones. On the day of the Lord when God destroys His enemies, Jesus will not return to us a harmless baby, but as a righteous conqueror to destroy evil.

Merciful Father in heaven, let us remember the words and warnings of your perfect son and repent of our sins. Let us not be a wicked generation, but instead let us respond to your calling to follow Christ and be a holy people in your eyes. This Christmas season, just as you gave us your son, let us in turn fully submit and give our lives to you. Amen.

Sophia Steibel

Brandon Garlock
School of Divinity Student

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Advent Reflection: Day 5

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