On the heels of the San Bernardino shooting it can be difficult to find joy. Where can we look for joy this holiday season? When we look to our feelings or personal relationships, we can be disappointed. Philippians 4 is one of the most encouraging portions of Scripture, but the context is important. There was infighting in the Philippian congregation. Paul implores the help of others in the congregation to let the infighting cease.
We take time to hear our God talk about tragedy – they happened in Jesus’ day too. Pilate killed Jews who were worshiping! Why? That is the question that we want answered. God doesn’t always provide and answer for the “why’s” of life. What he does do is promise that he will forgive our sins and take us out of this horrible veil of tears. Infighting, tragedies like what happened in San Bernardino, and even our own sin and guilt are the reason Christmas had to happen.
Advent is a great time to talk about God’s final rescue of the world. On the Last Day God will end the world and remove all the problems and pain that plagues his church and his children. It might feel out of place when Paul says, “The Lord is near!” In the season of Advent that is one of the dominant themes. That is one reason why early Christians greeted each other with the phrase, Maranatha – Come, Lord Jesus.
Jesus comes to end the world on the Last Day. He comes to our hearts through the Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. And we celebrate his coming as a baby in Bethlehem. Want to know Advent Joy? Find it in Jesus.