First Sunday of Advent

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord and saviour Jesus Christ our righteousness. Amen.

            The light of peace. There’s a room full of boys at bedtime. A bit of noise, a bit of mucking around and suddenly the lights turn on. Peace descends on the room as they all stop and get to bed. This is the truth we have heard today, the Son of Man, Jesus, will come in glorious light to bring peace to the whole world and deal with all evil. The light of God’s temple will be lifted above all things so we can look to it for the truth, like those old clocktowers telling the time. He will bring you peace, all of us, and we will walk in the Light of the Lord, His ways, not ours. (Isaiah 2:1-5)

            It’s not my power or your way that everyone will flock to, as Paul (Romans 13:14) writes, don’t think about how to gratify the desires of your flesh, rather clothe yourself with Jesus Christ. It’s His way that brings peace, and Jesus is a perfect example, saying to the Father, ‘not my will but yours be done.’ (Luke 22:42) These desires, when we feel we just need to have this one thing, wine, chocolate, sex, our own way; when we dwell on these things and how to get them, we live as if Christ is not in us and we are not in Him. As Paul puts it, we are sleep in the faith. This new life you have through baptism into Jesus by the Holy Spirit is a life that is focussed on Him. It’s a focus like the moth to the light, it doesn’t care that it just ran into the wall, it only cares about the light. When you worry about fulfilling your desires, you stress and often sin forgetting Christ is our light, our focus, then feeling your guilt you have no peace. But to be clothed, or in Christ, is to live according to His life, not according to our often plainly selfish desires. It’s not about, ‘what do I want?’ rather it’s ‘What has Jesus done? And what does He want?’. This is what it means to walk in the light of the Lord, to put on Christ, so that when others see you they see Jesus.

            Now we know, when Jesus comes again, everyone will see and He’s gonna sort out everything. Last week we were reminded that those who are in Christ, and you are, He promised you this in Baptism, those who are in Christ are already judged righteous (John 3:18; Romans 8:1). So when the end comes you have nothing to fear, the New, peaceful and holy Creation awaits. Yet now and here while we wait for this final fulfillment of God’s promises, the advent of His Son, right now we can live the new life we have been given, to live in the light and peace we already have by God’s Amazing grace! It’s not the time for rest, we are the saints in warfare. Paul writes the armour of light not the PJs. It’s the time to fight against the devil, against our sinful desires, time to pray and listen to God’s Word, the time to encourage one another in the faith, to talk about Christ’s work in our lives and to point each other to the light of Christ and to receive His peace. Now while we wait, it’s the time for action not for sleep. So keep watch, for we do not know the time when Jesus will come to bring ultimate light, truth and deep lasting peace.

            This peace of God which passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, as we wait and into eternity. Amen.

Joseph Graham.