Advent Devotional: Day 9
Monday, December 5, 2016
by Vernon Gramling
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.
So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him.
Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
I have gotten very discouraged this year. International conflicts, racial conflicts and our political process have diminished me. There is no victory; there is no safety—only preparation for retaliation. I write this before I know the outcome of the election but whoever ‘wins’ will be under constant, intentional attack. Fear and name-calling have replaced respect, dialogue and compromise. Antagonism, indignation and gridlock make hope for God’s reconciliation in our day as desperate as the Jews hoping to be freed from Rome.
This is not a new problem. Winning, power, control and self-sufficient ‘security’ are exactly what the world teaches. It is a dark despairing way to live. It is the inevitable darkness of Advent—a time when we are lost, a time of waiting—a time of hoping for something greater than us to show us a new way.
I need to be reminded of what I believe and what I hope for. I need God to break into my life. In such times, I need the breastplate of faith and love. I need a helmet of the hope of salvation. I need Emanuel. I need Jesus.
For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, … Therefore encourage one another and build up each other… Let it be so.