An Advent Benediction

candle-2874569_640Fourth Sunday of Advent (December 24, 2017)

Romans 16:25-27 | New Living Translation (NLT)

25 Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. 26 But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him. 27 All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.

The way the calendar works out this year, means we have one of the shortest distances between the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas.  This Sunday we start the day as Advent, but by evening we enter the season of Christmas.

Today’s passage from Romans is a benediction – a blessing – as we complete our preparations and begin the celebration.  Jesus is coming.  Jesus was foretold by the prophets – he came as a baby in Bethlehem.  The angels announced his coming to the shepherds.  Men from distant lands – Gentiles – saw a star and knew that a King had been born.  There were faithful people – Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary, Simeon, Anna – who were all waiting expectantly for the Messiah.  God revealed Jesus to the Jews and the Gentiles.  Jesus was the plan all along for the redemption of the humankind.

Through the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ, we may have new life, if we believe in him and we obey his commandments.  (vs. 26)  As we approach the celebration on this final Sunday of Advent.  My prayer is that everyone who reads this will have made the decision to believe and obey, so that we may celebrate the coming of Jesus – both his first and second.

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