December 26 - 31
Monday, December 26 – “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.” (Matthew 25:31) How appropriate, on the day after Christmas, to talk about returns. Advent is a time of waiting. Waiting for the baby born in Bethlehem. And waiting for the second coming of Jesus. Yesterday, we handled the former. Today, we have to deal with the latter. There will be a day when Jesus will return “in his glory, and all the angels with him and he will sit on his glorious throne”. When will this happen? I don’t know. What are we to do in the meantime? Practice hospitality.
Tuesday, December 27 – “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10:40) As a follower of Jesus, wherever you go, there Jesus is also. Whatever you do, Jesus also does with you. Being a follower of Jesus isn’t something that you do, it’s who you are. When someone welcomes you, they are also welcoming Jesus. If someone rejects you, they are also rejecting Jesus. When someone welcomes Jesus or rejects Jesus, they are welcoming or rejecting God. Who you are is wrapped up in Jesus and who Jesus is, is wrapped up in you.
Wednesday, December 28 – “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3:17) You might not like this verse, but you have to deal with this verse. It’s out there. Your faith in Jesus or your lack of faith in Jesus, is revealed through your actions. Yes, you are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. You aren’t saved by your good works. Yet a person who is saved by grace through faith in Jesus will do good works. These good works aren’t to merit salvation, they are in response to the free gift of salvation.
Thursday, December 29 – “And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:5) Why a child? In Jesus’ day children were not valued, other than the first-born son. Children had no rights. Children had no protections. Children were seen as less than. It’s these very one’s with no rights, no protections, the least of these, that Jesus came to save. Knowing this, as a follower of Jesus, who do you believe you are called to serve in this world?
Friday, December 30 – “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6) Fasting is the practice of withholding from something, as a sign of worship to God. Yet, if you withhold eating chocolate, in order to worship God, and then go out and treat the people in your life with anger, hatred and wrath, what good is your fasting? The kind of fasting that God desires for you is to fast from your anger, your hatred and your wrath. God doesn’t care about chocolate!
Saturday, December 31 – “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13) Too many people avoid Christianity because they have been taught that they have to be perfect. Obviously, even Jesus had to deal with this reality. Christianity isn’t about being perfect. Christianity is about claiming your imperfections and allowing God to meet you in them and walk with you. We have done this. We have taught people that they should be perfect. Let’s stop shoulding on each other. May we be a people who, like Jesus, “desire mercy, not sacrifice”.