The early Christians living at the time of Luke’s writing know troubled times. They have experienced persecution for their beliefs in Jesus. They fear for their lives, as fellow believers—like the apostle Paul—have been jailed or martyred. The signs that portend Jesus’ second coming turn the tables. Now the people will “faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world.” But what is distressing news to the world is good news to the persecuted followers of Jesus. Echoing words from the Old Testament prophet Daniel—“I suddenly saw one like a human being coming with the heavenly clouds” (Dan. 7:13, CEB)—Luke says that the followers of Jesus “’will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.” Thus, to the faithful, Luke says it is time to “stand up and raise your heads because your redemption is drawing near.”
Your redemption is near. You followers of Jesus will end up victorious. Herein we have the V of our acronym LOVE. We have a leader in Jesus; we have an order in God’s reign; and we have Victory through the redemption that comes from being a faithful follower of the Lord. It is a message to stay the course of faith. It is a message not to lose heart during troubling times that may be personal or may come from the circumstances of the world around us, such as wars, economic collapse, or pandemics.
In our preparations for Advent then, we are invited to remember that “LOVE is coming” in the birth of the long-expected One. We are invited to remain faithful to the leadership of Jesus and to choose to live in the order he brings to the world. Therein is our victory.
Guide our steps of preparation, O God, as we anticipate the coming of Jesus into our hearts and lives. Amen.
As we prepare our hearts for Advent, the celebration of Jesus’ first coming, we remember in Jeremiah that the birth of Jesus has a deep background, a background rooted in God’s promise to David. Psalm 25, traditionally credited to David, speaks of God’s faithfulness to those who follow the paths of the Lord. David asks God to teach him to follow God’s paths even more closely. The New Testament readings actually point us toward Jesus’ second coming. Paul encourages the Thessalonians to excel in holiness and love while they wait. In Luke, Jesus discusses the coming of the kingdom in a passage that some find confusing. We note that he focuses not on the exact time frame of the arrival of the kingdom but on our need to be alert
Read Jeremiah 33:14-16. How have you experienced the promises of God in your life?
Read Psalm 25:1-10. How has the Lord taught you and led you in the path of your life?
Read 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13. Is there a faith community for which you pray in joy? How else do you express your gratitude for that community?
Read Luke 21:25-36. How are you approaching Advent this year? What will you do to prepare your heart?
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