Monday, 8 September 2014
Countdown to Christmas
Did the title of this post make your stomach flutter with excitement or twist with anxiety? The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas crawled by when we were kids, but now they fly past us. Now that we are adults, we often think of Christmas as an endless “to do” list, piled on top of our regular duties. Sometimes it seems like our only goal is to check off the last item before the drop dead due date!
Of course, we know what Christmas is really about. Jesus came! After 400 years of silence from heaven, he came! After generations of waiting and looking for the promises to be fulfilled, he came! It is his first Coming or Advent that we are celebrating. The weeks leading up to December 25 mimic the waiting. We get to role play the anticipation of the ages, even though we know that he has already come.
How does this tie in with our next section of Philippians? Because Philippians 3:20 reminds us that we are still waiting: But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though he has already come once to save us, he will come again to complete the work in us. That’s what we’re waiting for, full salvation. What’s more, his ultimate victory is guaranteed. That’s the force of the next verse, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. What are we supposed to do while we wait? Decorate a tree and buy some gifts?
That’s the question the next section answers. Philippians 4:1-9 starts by referring back to this thought. Therefore…stand firm thus in the Lord. Therefore, because you are already a citizen of heaven, because he already came for you, wait for him by standing firm in him. Some of our favorite verses follow, rejoice in the Lord…be anxious for nothing….the peace of God will guard your heart. How do these verses equip us to wait for a Savior? How do they equip us to navigate the Christmas season?
Discussion question of the week? Since we have completed the 7 questions on our study sheet, use the questions in the last paragraph to stir your thinking and our discussion. How do these verses equip us to wait for a Savior? Our waiting comes down to very practical things that are part of living as if we are already citizens of heaven. How do these verses help me to navigate the Christmas season? God wants to help you and me wait for a Savior today, November 29, 2010. He knows we have certain pressures and temptations. This word was sent to help you and me stand firm in him today.
Verse of the week: At the bottom of the study sheet I have a place for you to write a verse of the week. I haven’t been doing this recently, but want to start again. Let’s each pick a verse to memorize and carry with us during the week. Memorizing itself is a chance to chew on the meaning. I find I often leave little words out or put a word in there that doesn’t belong at all. Memorizing helps me pay attention to the word choice of the Divine and human authors (and the translators, of course). Even my mistakes in memorizing can teach me something. Sometimes my understanding of a truth can grow when I get the words right.
So share your verse…and anything else you’d like to share. Let’s wait for him together.