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: Amos 8:1–14; Revelation 1:17–2:7; Matthew 23:1–12
In Matthew 23, Jesus tells the crowds to listen to the Pharisees—to practice and obey what they say. However, he also tells the crowds not to follow the example the Pharisees set as they don’t
practice what they preach and love to show off and receive respectful greetings and gifts.
In this season of Advent, do you sometimes find yourself in a Pharisee-like mindset? Maybe it’s a friendly competition to see who can show off the biggest tree or who can light up their house brighter than the sun. Maybe you find yourself in that giving spirit and try to be the one who buys the most gifts, or alternatively, receives the most gifts.
Regardless, there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition or the giving and receiving of gifts, but we need to remember that Christ did not intend for us to be consumed with these types of things. Rather, Advent is about celebrating the coming of Christ into the world to spread the Good News and provide us with the greatest gift of all—eternal life with him. What a gift of a lifetime!
Prayer: Lord, as we put up the decorations, string the lights, and prepare the meals, constantly remind us that you truly are the reason for the season. Your light shines brighter than any house in the neighborhood and the gift that you’ve given to us is far greater than any other gift that we will ever receive. Amen.
-Eric and Dana huber