Read Acts 13:16-25.
I’ve got a list of things that I need to do before Christmas can arrive: stockings must be hung, a pecan pie must be baked, the tree must be decorated (with white lights!), Christmas cards should be mailed, and I need to make space to display any received Christmas cards. Before Christmas can arrive at my house, I have a checklist of what I feel needs doing. If I’m being completely honest, by December 6th each year, I’ve usually gotten 80% of my shopping completed, too.
Paul, in talking about Jesus here, shows the Israelites a checklist as well. He’s letting the members of the synagogue know everything that God has done in the past to prepare for the Messiah’s arrival. It’s an intense list, and like John, we may not feel worthy of the gift, given everything that “still needs to be done.” But that’s where we’re wrong.
Don’t let the “to dos” ruin your Advent. Rest in the truth that God did, and still does, all of the work so that we can receive the gift of Jesus Christ with freedom and without guilt or shame, whether or not the stockings are hung or the tree has white lights. It’s all been prepared, and we will celebrate Christ’s birth yet again this year, because God says we’re worthy of the gift of the Messiah.
Giver of all the best gifts, be with us now as we work through any checklists we’ve created. Remind us to find joy in the waiting. Some may say we are not worthy of the gift of Christ, but you say otherwise, and for that we are grateful. Amen.
Rev. Katie Barrett Todd
Executive Director & Campus Minister