THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10
2 Peter 3:8-15a (NRSV)
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.
FINDING PEACE IN THE PATIENCE
Do you ever wonder if the main lesson of 2020 is in learning to be more patient? We had no way of knowing how long the pandemic would last, so our patience has been tested as the weeks turned into months, and the months are nearing a year. I can be more patient when I have an “end date” available; I can bear difficult days if I know they will be over by a certain time. I just need to work hard until this deadline. I can handle my chemo for these final six weeks. I only need to carry this load for one more mile. Our burdens seem heavier when we do not know when we will be free of them.
Perhaps because our patience has waned, many of us have understandably begun our Christmas season traditions sooner than we normally do. I have seen several Facebook posts from friends who admit they decorated for Christmas very early this year. Jim and I normally wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate, and keep the outdoor Christmas lights off until Advent begins. Not this year! We needed the cheerful sights of the season sooner (and we may keep them up longer, too). The song lyrics, “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute,” come to mind.
I have been thinking, Yes! Maybe we should bring Christmas into our Advent waiting, maybe we just “need a little Christmas now” to bring us peace, to help us get through these trying times. The wonderful news is that we DO have Christmas with us, all through our Advent season of preparation and all through our lives! For even as we keep our seasonal practice of watching and waiting for Jesus to be born, we know that he has already come, and that he remains with us for all time.
These beautiful verses from 2 Peter tell us that God’s time is beyond our comprehension, but we can trust God’s promise that a new heaven and a new earth will come. God is patient, and we must be patient in our waiting, too. Even so, as we are waiting, we are invited to “hasten the new day.” How do we do that?
What sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God?
While you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.
One visible way we might “hasten the new day” is to ask God to help us notice and embrace God’s patience as our own. Recognizing the patience God has for us will help us to be more patient with others. Witnessing the patience Jesus had in his suffering will help us to be more patient in our own. Knowing the patience God has for our salvation will help us to be more patient with our imperfections. Understanding the patience God has with time will help us to be more patient in our waiting.
Our Advent peace is found when we ask God for the patience to endure trials, to bear with one another, to forgive one another, and to wait for a new and better day. With the patience that only God can give, we will live with greater peace, patience, and serenity, with greater holiness and godliness. In doing so, we will hasten the promised new day, because we will be living that new way – here and now.
This Sunday we will begin Joy in the Junk. Our reading will be John 1:6-8,19-28.
Bible verses taken from https://www.biblegateway.com/