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FROM THE PASTOR
Advent: the season of repentance and joy
Dear friends in Christ, today is the first Sunday of Advent, and it’s the beginning of a new church year. So happy new year everyone; there is lots to celebrate. Many reasons to be joyful – Immanuel, God with us and for us, not against us. God coming to us in Jesus Christ, God incarnate, in the flesh to save us from our sins! The great news we have, the Christian gospel is that Jesus was born in Bethlehem for _ _ _ (insert your name, or “Me”). And the same, Jesus died on the cross for _ _ _. And again, Jesus rose from the grave to life again for _ _ _ .
The word 'advent' comes from the Latin, Adventus, which means 'coming' or arrival of an important occasion or person. During the four Sundays of Advent we look forward to the important occasion of Christmas and its celebration of our Lord's coming as a human baby born at Bethlehem as the Saviour of the world. Jesus’ birth also marks the beginning of the end times. During these four Sundays of Advent we also focus on preparing for Jesus’ final coming as King at the end of time.
The preparation for Christ’s return, amongst many things involves self-examination and repentance; but repentance doesn’t stop at repentance. Firstly, it’s usually painful and rather embarrassing for us to admit there are many times on our life, that our ways and attitudes have been downright sinful and wrong! And to remain unrepentant means that our lives will be a total loss, cut off from God – forever! However, secondly, there is also joy that comes with repentance – God’s law rightly shows us our sin, and our sins cause us grief. Yet in the midst of our grief and fear, we don’t despair and lose the hope of our salvation.
When we confess our sins to God, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins. God’s word tell us that his love and mercy endures forever, and that in Jesus Christ, in his holy, innocent and bitter suffering and death became the atoning sacrifice – not only for our sins but for the sins of the whole world – this is the Christian gospel that helps us and brings cheer to the heart – our true joy; repentance and coming to faith in Jesus belong together.
Advent is both the season of repentance and joy, as God is for us not against us and with us in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, for richer or poorer. We close with a prayer: “Thank you Lord Jesus Christ for your undeserved grace. Amen”.
We Pray For:
† The church, waiting for the coming of Christ.
† Families, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.
† Those who are caught up in material preparations for Christmas.
† Those who are travelling in the upcoming holiday time.