God Stories

December 13, 2020 The Third Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

The tie in between today’s readings: What Do You Have to Say?

Luke 1:46-54, Isaiah 61:1-2;10-11, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, John 1:6-8;19-28

Besides being a time of anticipation, Advent is also a time for reflection. Remembering God’s faithfulness and blessings to us in the past will help strengthen our trust in Him today and grow our excitement for the future. He operates in different and mysterious ways. No two experiences are alike. That’s why it’s good to hear individual testimonies of the Lord working in our lives. All believers have a story, and all believers have something to say.

In Luke 1:46-54, Virgin Mary says, “My soul exalts and rejoices in the Lord God my Savior! The Almighty has done great things for me. He took note of my humble condition, raised me up, and now, I will be called blessed by all the generations. My God is merciful and mighty. He has compassion on the lowly and the hungry, while at the same time, brings down the arrogant and sends them away empty. He is a very present help in a time of need to those who fear Him.”

In John 1:19-28, John the Baptist says, “Who am I? Some confuse me with Elijah, or The Prophet, or even Christ, for that matter, but I am none of them. I am a lone voice in the desert heralding the coming of the Lord. I baptize anyone who wants to repent and prepare for Him. I am famous, but compared to Him, I am nothing. I am not even good enough to untie His sandal. The way I see it, just to be in the service of the Lamb of God makes my whole life worthwhile.”

In Isaiah 61:10-11, the prophet of God says, “Words can’t express my joy! The Lord has forgiven my sins and granted me His salvation. He wrapped me in His robe of righteousness, finer than any wedding gown or tux. I am looking forward to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the establishment of His rule here on earth.”

Maybe, you haven’t met the Master, yet and don’t have a God story. It’s high time you’re introduced:

In Isaiah 61:1-2, Jesus says, “The Spirit of God anointed Me to bring the gospel to the humble of heart. By My sacrifice, I will bear the guilt and anguish of the world’s iniquities in My body. I will make all that come to Me free from sin’s captivity and comfort those who mourned over its destructive grasp. Believe in Me and I will heal your broken heart.”

My friend, we celebrate Advent and Christmas because they point to the resurrection victory of Christ on Easter Sunday. Put your faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to break the power of sin’s penalty and impact on you. He will give you eternal life. You will have the hope of heaven. By His baptism, you will be born again, and the angels will rejoice! Apparently, they never get tired of a good conversion story.

For the rest of us believers, it is easy to praise the Lord when things are going great and we should. But, perhaps, you are going through a rough patch right now and the pain is causing some of those Alleluias to ring a little hollow. Don’t be discouraged. God is writing His story in you. The Bible says, in the book of James, to be joyful in trials because God is maturing your faith. He is not your escape hatch from troubles. The Almighty is THE resource that accompanies you through the fire and through the flood, not around them. A figurative sword pierced Mary’s heart as the soldiers drove the nails into her son’s hands. John the Baptist was beheaded. Isaiah, the prophet, was sawn in two. Still, I can’t imagine that any of them would change their circumstances for a more comfortable existence. In today’s epistle, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, Paul the Apostle encourages us in our Christian life. He tells us to always rejoice, pray ceaselessly, give thanks in everything, and hold to the good while shunning the evil. He prays that our faithful God of peace will sanctify us and keep us blameless until the Lord comes. So, as believers, let us hold fast to God’s promises. Take the long view. Be strong in His power. Persevere! In the end, the courageous come through with great stories.

As we look forward to Christmas and marvel at the Nativity—the angels singing, the shepherds watching, the star shining, and most of all the virgin birth—let us not forget the reason for the season. It was love that caused our Savior to humble Himself to become a man. Love was the reason that He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and showed the Father to us. It was love that drove Him to the cross and it was love, not the nails, that held Him there. Love raised Him from the grave. That child in the manger is now the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He invites you to share in His life. Say, yes! Don’t delay!  Jesus want to forgive your sins and make you part of the greatest story ever told.

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