Summary: A look through the lectionary from the book of Luke as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
December 3, 2017
I’m having a difficult time realizing we’re in December. I’m not sure why, I think it happens to me every year. In January, you think about the fact that it’s another year, it’s going to last forever, and after 5 minutes, it seems the year is coming to an end. The Christmas season is here, shopping is well under way.
Spiritually, this is the first official day of the Christmas season. Today is the first day of a season in the church life called Advent! The word Advent means coming. It’s "the period of expectant waiting and preparation of the birth of Jesus." It’s interesting that the Greek word which Advent comes from is called parousia, which means presence or coming. But in the New Testament this word applies to the second coming of Christ. So as we prepare for the birth of Jesus, in a sense the first coming of Jesus, and at the same time we look forward to the second coming of Christ.
For the next 4 Sundays I will be using the common lectionary, readings from the gospel of Luke. As we prepare to celebrate one of the most important days of the year — the day in which God entered our world in human form as a helpless child. And through that child our sins are forgiven, and through Him we have life — the offer of abundant life on earth, and eternal life in heaven.
Today we're going to look at Luke 21:25-36. These verses are from a sermon that Jesus preached about the second coming. The celebration of the first coming of Christ and the anticipation of the second coming of Christ are closely connected, because both events teach the same principle: God has His hand on human history. These events remind us that history is moving in a specific direction.
There are so many people in our world who believe life is random. Things happen for no reason at all - - without order. They believe there’s no meaning, no purpose, no direction. Life’s just a bunch of random meaningless events.
I believe Christmas teaches us something very different. If, we are willing, it helps us to see that God has not abandoned us. He’s not ignoring us. He has a plan and a purpose, and He's inviting us into His plan.
You may think the world is spinning out of control, and sometimes our lives feel that way. Too many things are happening, not all of which are good. We experience the hardships and the harshness of life.
And you may think that your world is spinning out of control right now. Maybe you're struggling financially, maybe there's trouble at home, maybe you're uncertain of what the future holds, and you think your life is a random series of chaotic events.
But Christmas is a reminder, it’s the promise God has not abandoned you. God has not forgotten us. He's still in control. And as we talked about in our series from Hebrews, God will never leave you nor forsake you!
Some of us approach this season with a sense of dread. Maybe it's because you’ll be alone at Christmas, and you don't want that. Maybe it's because you feel strapped for money. It’s not about gifts, it’s about paying your bills. And you don’t like that. Maybe there’s just too many demands on your time. Too much stress in the house, too many expectations to meet. Maybe it’s the ones who will not be there this Christmas and your sadness overwhelms you.
So, we just want to make it through the next 22 days. Then you’ll certainly be fine.
There's a better way to approach the Christmas season — a way that leads to victory and joy. A way that leads to power and hope and expectation. Even if there are some things about this season that aren't perfect!
But, in spite of this, if we can adjust our attitudes, our spirits, our hearts . . . just a little bit, maybe, just maybe, that will help us during this season, and we will experience the grace, mercy, power and love of God.
So, with that in mind, I want to look at what Jesus said in Luke 21 as a way to help us develop some habits which may help us not just during this season, but during the coming year as well.
1. We need to keep looking up!
In Luke 21 Jesus talks about all the negative things that are occurring in the world. It’s a pretty scarey time. Listen to the first part of our passage ~
25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,