Donald R. Elly, M. Div.
Let me be the first to wish you a “Happy New Year in Christ!” In the past several years I realized that our new beginning in Christ does not start with January 1st, but with the First Sunday of Advent. On this day our life in Jesus comes full cycle—meaning that we have a God-given opportunity to deepen our trust in Jesus as Emmanuel (God with us) and develop “Kingdom Vision.” So what are some of the steps we might take to grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus.
Luke, in the Gospel passage for this first Sunday, describes three ways that we might do so. Notice also that this advice comes toward the end of the Gospel just as Mark‘s journey with us last year ended with a similar text known as apocalyptic because it is about the end of the world and welcoming a new one.1
Luke in chapter 21 shares these words of Jesus: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth distress among nations confused by the roaring sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world…” This is sure a description of the mood of this past year and how many of us view the future.
“Now when these things begin to take place…”, what should we, who are letting Jesus lead us to do? First, do the exact opposite of what you feel like doing. Instead if cowering in anxiety, and worry, “Stand and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” You can’t see God at work if you are covering your head and hiding.
Second, remember all this will pass…”but my words will not pass away. Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down…” Finally, “Be alert at all times, praying that you have the strength to escape all these things that will (already have) taken place and stand before the Son of Man.”
There you have Luke’s advice for the New year. So practice looking up, being alert, praying and all the gifts that God intends for you, especially a deeper knowledge of Jesus, God’s gift of himself, will be yours. Happy New Year in Christ Jesus.
1.Mark 13, Matthew 24 and Luke 21 share similar material about the end of the world called eschatology. The events are often used to predict the future. I believe these events happened to the first Christians and is advice to us to be faithful.
December 2, 2018; Cycle C; The First Sunday of Advent
Jer. 33:14-16; Psalm 25:1-10; 1st Thess. 3:9-13; *Luke 21:25-36