Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we approach closer and closer to Christmas. It is just another week before we once again celebrate the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born in the city of David, in Bethlehem over two millenia ago. The coming of the Lord as the Messiah, or the Saviour of all had been foretold long before His birth, through the revelations made through the prophets and the numerous messengers sent by God to His people, to tell them of the great joy of that Good News.
God is faithful to His promises and sought their fulfillment in the coming of the Messiah, born of the family of David, as a fulfillment of His promise to Israel, to those who had remained faithful to Him. He promised David, that his descendant will rule forever in a kingdom that is without end, and the same He had promised to Abraham, that his descendants would be innumerable and great. And not least of all, God promised even our first ancestors, from the very beginning, that He would not abandon them to the works of the evil one.
Mankind had indeed erred ever since the beginning, when they first tasted the fruits of sin, in contempt of the love of God for them, trusting more in the sweet but poisonous words of Satan rather than the loving words of God. Adam and Eve were lured into the trap of the devil, who promised them knowledge, greatness, and glory, by disobeying God. Indeed, the Lord loved them and gave them all the blessings He had intended for them, but He also set specific rules for them, to keep them away from sinfulness and thus, destruction.
Mankind were created pure, without knowing even an ounce of sin and evil. Evil was unknown to them, and all creations were created good and perfect. Yet, you may indeed ask then, why did God even plant such a dangerous tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, so that our ancestors might eat from them? Would it not be better for that tree to be not present at all?
Well, brethren, indeed, although all creations were created good and perfect, it was the devil himself who first ruined the order of the universe, through his own pride, jealousy, and vanity, desiring none other than the throne of God and to supersede God in his pride. Evil therefore was made to exist in the world, and that was why, God contained that evil and prevented our ancestors from knowing them, that they would not be corrupted as the devil had been.
After mankind fell to the temptations of the evil one, God could easily have obliterated them and destroyed them, for they have followed in the path of rebellion of Satan. Yet, He did not do so, and although He punished them for their disobedience, banishing them from the bliss and joy of Eden, to labour and work hard on barren earth, but deep inside, the Lord loved us still, and loved us deeply He did.
We have known good and evil, and therefore, we have the capacity for good or for evil. And that was exactly what mankind had done all these while. We had done much good, but also much evil. And evil and sin are the thongs that prevented us from reuniting ourselves with God, for God is good and perfect, and sin has no place before Him. As long as we remained sinful and rebellious, we cannot be with God.
That was why, for a long while, ever since the beginning, God had prepared a comprehensive plan of salvation. One that He first told our ancestors and the devil himself, as a premonition of what will happen. He chose those who were righteous and just, who disdained sin and rejected the sinful temptations of the devil, beginning with Noah, whom He called and rescued from among all mankind and their wickedness in the Ark, and then to Abraham and his descendants, the chosen ones of God.
And He chose David, a faithful servant, through whom the long planned salvation plan would continue, and although both his ancestors and descendants did not remain faithful to Him, sometimes even committing things very evil in the eyes of God, the Lord continued on, as He certainly knew what will eventually happen. And He revealed part by part His plan to the numerous prophets and messengers He had sent to His people, to call them to repent from their sinfulness.
And while some did heed His call, many continued to defy Him and turned deaf ears against His words delivered through the prophets. In fact, they persecuted and rejected these prophets and messengers, and even slaughtering them. Even John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the coming of Christ, they rejected, ridiculed, and eventually brought to death.
After a long while, in Jesus, the salvation itself finally arrived. God Himself incarnate into man, to be one of us. He did this for no other reason than that first He might reveal to His beloved children, of what He had intended for them, in all its fullness, and most importantly, to be a sacrificial victim, a worthy sin offering to take away from us, all the taints of sin that separated us from God. He became the way, and the only way between us and God our Father.
After hearing what the Lord had done and what He had planned, and what He had done through Jesus, as we all know from the Holy Scriptures, now it is our time to think, and to reflect on our own actions, and on the reality of our own sinfulness.
Yes, brethren, we have received the word of God and His revelations, as part of our faith, and we have indeed accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. But have we truly lived in the way that Christ had taught us? Have we all remained faithful to His laws and commandments of love? Just as it was in the past, our world and our surroundings presented to us many tempting challenges and offers, those that many of us and those before us had taken up.
We professed our faith in God, and yet many of our actions still did not reflect this faith we have in Him. We are no better than those Pharisees and the chief priests who outwardly professed their faith and yet had no love for the Lord in them.
As we approach ever closer to the celebration of Christmas, let us all renew and strengthen our love for God, that we will be able to commit fully to the Lord and walk faithfully in His path. Let us all renew our faith in Him and profess it through not just our words, but also our actions. Let us all be courageous to proclaim our faith in God, that we truly believe in our Saviour, Jesus Christ, the long awaited Messiah.
May this Advent season be a fruitful one for all of us, that we make best use of the time to prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christ’s coming into this world. Let us all prepare ourselves, that we rid ourselves of sin and wickedness, that we all be pure and ready to welcome our Saviour, that when He comes again, we will be found worthy for the eternal joy and rewards He had promised us. God bless us all. Amen.