Fourth Thursday in Advent

Now is the time to prepare for the Coming of the Messiah this Advent Season.  Meet us here each day of Advent where we will be posting a blog written by members of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem,  representing an intergenerational sampling of contributors as they reflect on the scripture selections from the Daily Lectionary Advent readings from the Book of Common Worship. If you would like to download a copy of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem Advent Devotional, CLICK HERE.

LECTIONARY READING: Isaiah 60:1–6; Galatians 3:23–4:7; Matthew 1:18–25

Christmas is upon us! Our city, our parks, our homes have been brightly decorated with lights.  There is expectancy in the air that is palpable.  

In the back of our minds, our thoughts run wild bringing a mixture of good and sad memories.  Yes, there will be joy when family and friends come together. Yes, there will be beautiful food that will bring everyone around the table. Yes, there will be shouts of pleasure as gifts are opened.  But, yes, we will be missing those who have departed before us, those who belong to us but live far away, those who have rejected us and that we continue to love deeply. Yes, there will be tears in our eyes. If all was said and done through the flow of our feelings, instead of the hope of the Gospel found in Isaiah 60:1–6, we would be missing the reason for this season of Advent—this time of expectant waiting.

Our joy, our coming together, our shouts of pleasure, and even our grief have their roots in the fact that Jesus Christ is the light that has come and that will come destroying our darkness, fears, and pain and shining brighter than all the strings of lights on our trees. Let’s lift up our eyes and focus them on Christ. 
We will then really rejoice because of his eternal gift, the gift of new life in him, given to all who have been adopted into his family. Christmas is upon us!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for shining brighter than the commercial lights that surround us and for bringing eternal hope to us. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

-Rev. Dr. Manuela Kauer