Here is the promise of the Scriptures: "Christ will return and truly the day will come when none of God's children will be left behind. There will someday be peace and justice in this world. Sin and suffering will come to an end."
Another pastor tells the story of a congregation that he once served, which was located across the street from the state capitol. When he arrived, homeless people would frequently mill around outside the doors of the beautiful gothic structure that housed that congregation. Fortunately, due to his caring ministry, some of the homeless have now found a spiritual home within that worshipping community.
But others living on the streets did not come inside -- they distrusted most institutions and preferred their current circumstance. So, when these homeless would not come to them, the church decided to go to the homeless! One of the associate pastors took her guitar and moved out on the street for the people who would not come inside, and the homeless responded to this unique outdoor ministry.
Eventually when one special service was held, about 60 of them crowded inside the little chapel for their service. Coincidentally, a member of the legislature across the street invited his colleagues to participate in the special services as well and about 40 of them showed up. To the leaders of this congregation, this was a preview of how things will be in the kingdom of God.
This is what Advent is really all about: it's not just about lights and carols, and buying presents. True, it is about preparing ourselves to celebrate the birth of the Savior more than 2,000 years ago, but it is also about preparing ourselves and our world for the Savior's return at the end of days when things in this world will be set right. No one knows when that day will be, but we do know this, the cries of God's children will not forever be unanswered.
How do we know that? Because our Savior has come down in the manger of Bethlehem, and he is coming again to answer the cries of his children for peace and justice and the end of all suffering and pain.
GRACE -- it's for me, it's for you, it's for everyone!
By Rev. Dr. Martin Lucin
Grace Lutheran Church