Before Jesus’ birth, the angels appeared to some shepherds on the hillside outside Bethlehem. They came announcing good news of peace and renewal – tidings of comfort and joy.
We asked 25 people to prepare a meditation for us to read and listen to every day through Advent. We are delighted to share their work with you.
God bless you as you read, listen and pray.
2 Peter 3: 14 – 15, 17 – 18
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
That modern classic ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ includes some interesting theological themes:
“He’s making a list he’s checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.”
…And some lines which my boys find downright creepy:
“He sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake.”
We are familiar with the idea that if you behave well, things will go well for you and many parents threaten children that Santa won’t visit if you don’t behave.
In his second letter the apostle Peter seems to be saying something similar. He’s been speaking about the new heavens and earth and says So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.
Is this code for ‘behave well or you won’t get into the new heavens and earth’? But Peter says ‘since you are looking forward to this’ – we look forward when we know we can be sure of things, which is one reason this pandemic season has been so hard for so many. These verses give us the wonderful paradox of a Grace that welcomes us unconditionally, warts and all, assuring us that we are going to graduate with first class honours. And then says, so if you are a first class honours student, then live like one. Do your study. Play your part to be the person who lives for that new heaven and new earth.
Living in the Kingdom of God, is to live as if you are in heaven already – with resources of heaven at your disposal and offering peace and joy and forgiveness. Because this world, wonderful though it can be, will one day have all the evil removed and its best bits enhanced hundredfold.
This is a great reason to learn from Jesus how to live in his Kingdom during this Advent season.