This time of year always gets me down, and not for all the "usual reasons." Sure I miss family that is no longer here; I wonder at the distance that my calling in Christ has put in miles between my family and our loved ones, but I know the Lord has all this in hand, and it doesn't bother me, much anyway. No, what gets me down is how those of us who believe in Christ don't talk about Him much during this time we celebrate His first entrance in to this world to dwell among us. We talk about movies (which most don't remotely begin to talk about Him, but settle the Advent season in to warm, fuzzy feelings, and hot cocoa), we talk about lights, and trees, and presents. We tell our kids about a fat man in a red suit (who, in his actual life, was committed to Jesus Christ and a leader in the Church, but we don't talk about that much), talk about things that have to do with magic, and border the miraculous, but are steeped in fantasy and legend, and yet the very real child in the manger is not mentioned much. Is it any wonder that at times our faith feels distant? It it any wonder that, when the discovery that mom and dad have been giving the presents, children ask "What else have you told me was real, but is not?" Is it any wonder that the awe of God doesn't feel close to us? Why? I'm not trying to be a downer, but this world is not our home. The Joy of Christmas can't surpass the Joy that comes with knowing Jesus and making Him known. We can't place our faith and trust in anything it provides; why? It's ending, passing away. Jesus isn't making a list and checking it twice to see who's been naughty and who's nice. He has a book of Life, and those in it will be judged by His righteousness (our own could never cut it), and enter Eternity with Him, and those who are not will be judged by their deeds in accordance with the Law. Justice will be done, and everyone will receive what they looked for. Jesus IS returning, and the season of Advent should point us back to this. Now, as the day is closer (each day is closer than the day before), let us fix our eyes on Him, or else we will be left wondering what went wrong. Matthew 7:15-27 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”