Advent, 3rd Sunday (A) Rejoice! We have a Savior! Jesus Christ comes to rescue us from the lies of the Enemy. God has not abandoned us! Jesus is Emmanuel, God-with-us. God has always been with you, from your first heartbeat to your last breath. Even though we have abandoned God, he has never abandoned us.

The second lie is that there's something wrong with you. Yes, we have made mistakes and done terrible things. But our failures did not cause God to run away from us. In fact, your very sinfulness is the "reason for the season." God sent Jesus right into the dark and cold of our sinfulness. Jesus is not afraid of the dark. He wants to warm your frozen heart with the fire of his unconditional love.

The third lie is that we can't trust God. Even John the Baptist is disappointed with the Savior's lackluster performance. God responds that sorrow and mourning will flee, but we must be patient and let God's plan unfold. Jesus remains faithful and lives a life of self-giving love even when the world is cold and dark and rejects him. Only in trusting God will we find true life.

I would like to tell you that my Advent is going really well. The truth is I've been tired, sick, grumpy, and behind in present buying. Fortunately, the church does not say, "Rejoice because you're winning at Advent." Instead: Rejoice in the Lord always. Next week I will talk about how to receive and respond to God's offer of salvation. But for this week, rejoice that the Savior is near.

(15 Dec 2019)

Going Deeper: Have you seen signs this Advent season of your need for a savior? How have you been seeing Jesus near to you each day?

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