1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Advent brings us to a bad news-good news type of situation. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say that Advent helps us confront the reality of the meaning of the gospel for our daily lives. While that’s not really bad news, it is tough news and it does mean that our lives cannot remain as they are. Part of preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ is examining those ways in which our lifestyle falls short of “the calling to which we have been called.” In the same way that God didn’t come to earth only in a spiritual sense (i.e. Jesus was God’s physical presence on earth- we call this the incarnation), our faith in Christ cannot be only a spiritual activity. Our faith must bear physical, incarnational consequences in the way we choose to live. Let me be clear- this is no easy task. It would be much easier to relegate matters of faith to our thought life and leave it alone. Nonetheless, the reality of our calling- and of this season of Advent- is that our lives (our whole lives) must reflect the high calling that is placed on each of us. So what’s the good news in this? We live in certain hope that God’s continued presence on earth will empower us to “increase and abound in love for one another and for all.” We’re not on our own to try to live up to an impossible example that Jesus set for us. Rather, God’s grace walks beside us, before us, behind us and above us as we journey ever closer toward the life God would have us live.