As Christians, we began the new year yesterday with the first Sunday of Advent. It is a bold and declarative statement to the world that being a follower of Christ means that we live our lives rooted in the work and presence of God through God’s Holy Spirit. We dare to believe and live in a sacred and holy relationship led by God and defined by God. As persons of faith we are called to live a holy and sacred life. By such living we become a vital and present witness to who God is and what God is seeking to do in the world. Our New Year began yesterday as we began to prepare, watch, and wait for the birth of the baby that came to change everything about us, our world, and God’s defining work in it through God’s establishment of God’s Kingdom. That Kingdom was inaugurated in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus. And now, on this second day of the New Year we are invited and called to live into its reality among us and become the vehicles through which it becomes real in the life of God’s world. Such is our identity as baptized Christians and is our purpose. Anything other than such living is a cheap imitation!
As many of you know I left just after church yesterday for Pampa, Texas where my mom and dad’s families live. My aunt Sandy, my mom’s youngest sister, died this past Friday. On Tuesday, we will celebrate, remember, and give God thanks for her life. I have been honored to preach her funeral. What I will be able to say about my aunt Sandy is that she was a person of faith who devoted her life to following our Lord. Aunt Sandy lived the Kingdom life we are all invited to live. God’s love flowed through her in a most humble and defining way. Her faith in God was the bedrock foundation of who she was and the purpose for which she lived her life. She stands as a powerful and present example of what such Kingdom living should be like. Sandy never settled for the cheap and false imitations that society offers to us regarding living. She was the real deal when it came to faith. My life and the life of my family have been blessed by such living. I will always be indebted to her and thankful for the witness of faith she shared with me and my children. It is an example to us all as to why we are here and the purpose that should define what we do with the sacred moments we have.
So….as we begin this New Christian Year my prayer for us is that we, too, will live a life defined by the One who made us and gifted the life we enjoy each day to us. May we live the holy and sacred life, led by God’s most Holy Spirit, so that our lives become a living witness as to who God is and all that God is doing among us. May God lead us as we prepare, watch, and wait in this holy season of Advent for the miracle of the birth of the baby who came to change everything!! And this Christmas may we come to realize and claim, amid the food, the presents, Santa Claus, and all the lights and the glitter, that unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is given! And His name shall be called Emmanuel which means God with us! And may the presence of God always be the difference in leading us and shaping us to be the people God has created us to be!
Have a holy and blessed Advent!!
I will see you on the road,
I John 3:1