Today's Lectionary Text
The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. It educates us so that we can live sensible, ethical, and godly lives right now by rejecting ungodly lives and the desires of this world. At the same time we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us in order to rescue us from every kind of lawless behavior, and cleanse a special people for himself who are eager to do good actions.
The waiting is over – or it will be in just a few hours (depending upon when you may be reading this). Advent, the season of waiting, ends at sundown when Christmas traditionally begins. Many of us will be heading off to Christmas Eve services this evening where we will light the Christ Candle and sing “Silent Night” by candlelight, welcoming Baby Jesus into the world once more. Then tomorrow and for the next week or so we may focus on family gatherings and parties that welcome the New Year. All too often, it is not just Advent that is over, but Christmas itself.
However, in truth, Christmas is just beginning. On the liturgical calendar we have twelve days of Christmas still ahead of us. (And if we were anywhere other than the United States, we would likely continue our Christmas celebrations for those twelve days.) These are days in which we can choose to leave the Christ Child behind – or we can choose to honor the gift of that same Christ Child by living the “sensible, ethical, and godly lives” of Paul’s words to Titus.
Tonight, we remember the Light that came into the world with the birth of a baby over 2000 years ago and the grace God grants us through Jesus.
Tonight, we remember that we have received grace upon grace from the God who sent us a baby who grew up to give his very life for us.
Tonight, Christmas begins.
Tonight, we choose. Do we honor the gift of the Christ Child? Or do we leave Christmas behind?
-Rev. Robbie Fall, retired elder
Prayer for Reflection
On this holy night, O God of hope, peace, joy, and love, help us to choose your Son over the desires and temptations of the world. Help us to choose Christmas and the grace you offer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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