Reading: Romans 15: 4-13
Community and personal connection to God flow through this section of Romans 15. Paul reminds us that the coming of Jesus that we await is also the one spoken of by the prophets of old. The Root of Jesse will save the world from its sins. He is the one who offers endurance and encouragement and a spirit of unity among all believers. Through this unity we glorify God. There is a deep sense that unity pleases God. Paul goes on to quote several Old Testament passages that include the Gentiles in God’s family, again seeking to build unity amongst all believers.
The vision that God sent Jesus for all people is a great one to lift up during Advent and particularly around Christmas. As we draw nearer to the day, it is upon each of us to invite all to the celebration. Paul clearly spells out that Christ came for all people. Thus is a message we all need to share. It is an open invitation that we need to proclaim. May we fling wide the doors of our churches to welcome all into the gift of Jesus Christ!
We invite to allow others to begin to know and develop what we have – a personal relationship with Jesus. It is this personal connection that underlies and undergirds our overall sense of Christian community. The joy and hope and love and peace that we celebrate in Christmas is the same joy and hope and love and peace that we live with all year long because we know Jesus as Lord of our life. While we are called to share this with others and to invite them to the birthday celebration, this season is also a time when we ourselves again invite Jesus into our hearts. We prepare our hearts to once again welcome the Christ child. It is a deeply personal time of connecting to Jesus Christ. May our own hearts be filled with the gift of Jesus Christ as we fling open the doors of our hearts to welcome in the joy and hope and love and peace of our Savior.