He is here to stay

At Christmas, Christians look back and celebrate the birth of their Saviour, Jesus Christ. But they also look ahead, full of hope in the return of Jesus. But the significance of Jesus’ birth can also be experienced in the present.

Be watchful

On the first Sunday in December we already celebrate the second Sunday of Advent. In preparation for the return of Jesus, we need to be on our guard. In his letter to the church in Thessalonica, Apostle Paul already urged the members there to be watchful (1 Thessalonians 5: 6, 11).

In the letter, Apostle Paul expressed both his joy over the young church and his concern that its members were to be watchful and ready for the return of Jesus.

In addition to urging them to “watch and be sober”, the Apostle urged these early Christians to encourage and edify each other.

Christians today are also urged to not be sleepy in their faith, but to actively support one another and alleviate the needs of their neighbour.

Jesus provides for the needy

The divine service on the third Sunday of Advent is based on an event following the announcement of the birth of Jesus. When Mary goes to visit Elizabeth, who is a relative of hers, Elizabeth joyfully recognises that Mary will be the mother of the coming Saviour. Mary then praises God and also describes all the good things that He will do one day (Luke 1: 52).

Jesus is the bread of life and satisfies all who come to Him poor or hungry. During His lifetime, Jesus reached out to the hungry, but always referred to the spiritual significance of His ministry. Anyone who feels some form of inner, spiritual hunger will be truly satisfied in fellowship with Jesus Christ.

The rich and wealthy, on the other hand, will miss out. People who rely exclusively on their gifts and abilities, their background, their social and professional position, run the risk of forgetting about what their soul really needs.

God is present

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the joy of the coming Saviour should be felt by everyone, regardless of one’s personal situation. The Bible text that the sermon is based on, Zechariah 2: 14, indicates that the Saviour will not only come, but will also live among human beings. And this is how we can experience the presence of God today: in the fellowship of those who truly love Him. Filled with the love of Jesus, such a congregation welcomes the weak and the outsiders. In this fellowship no one is to strive for their own honour or power or impose their will on others.

The presence of God is tangible in the work of the Holy Spirit and in the divine services, and continues to be present in the incarnation of Jesus.

The Word became flesh

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1: 14).

This statement in the first chapter of the gospel of John is the basis for the 2022 Christmas Day service

In the beginning was the Word, through which God created the heavens and the earth. Through His Word, the Creator speaks to all human beings in order to make His love known to them. And through Jesus Christ, the Word became flesh.

Through Jesus Christ, the believer also learns to trust in God. Jesus Himself became man and shared the joys and sorrows of human beings. In everything He did, Jesus Christ always referred to His Father. He did not seek His own glory, but glorified God.

Jesus is not only the Word that became flesh, He is also the truth. He not only teaches human beings, but sends His disciples into the world in order to proclaim the glory of God to all human beings.

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Simon Heiniger
Advent, Christmas, Divine service