Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now everyone anticipates Christmas. Why? Because of gifts, food, like hallacas, drink, the company of family and friends. Some know the reason for this season is the birth of Jesus Christ. In fact, some children have written their letters to the Infant Jesus for their gifts.
In our worship, our approach is different than the world around. For us, this is not a holiday season that occurs once a year and then we return to our work and daily life. Not only do we remember a past event, the birth of the Infant Jesus in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. On the contrary, we reflect on a hope that continues throughout our lives until the second coming of our Lord.
Our text speaks of this second coming. Our Lord came the first time in humility to fulfill the covenant that God made with the people of Israel, the descendants of Abraham. In the Old Testament, the books of the Bible written before the birth of Christ, the focus is on this people. But, from the beginning, when God promised Abraham a great nation of his descendants, He also promised from among his descendants a Savior would come for all nations. God promised this Savior to Adam and Eve, the first humans, in Genesis 3:15.
St. Paul says in our epistle (Romans 15: 4-13): “And again he says: Rejoice, Gentiles, with his people. And again: Praise the Lord all the Gentiles, and give glory to all the peoples. And again Isaiah says: The root of Jesse will come out, and he who will rise to reign over the Gentiles: The Gentiles will wait on Him. ” Gentiles is a word that means those who are not Jews. So, the promise of the new covenant in Christ is for all nations. The hallmark of this new covenant is not circumcision as in the old covenant, but the baptism that Eduardo Garrido will receive today. No matter our race or tribe, we are Abraham's heirs in the water linked to the Word of God.
Therefore, our hope is not only for Christmas next year, but for the day when Christ comes again in glory. Because in baptism we are also heirs of eternal life that Christ won for us on the cross. He was punished for our sins on the cross, but let us share in his resurrection from death because of baptism.
Christmas points to Holy Week. Jesus was born in this world to suffer and die on the cross. He began his way to the cross with His baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Like the baptism of Jesus, the Father's voice spoke from the heavens and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, in each Christian baptism, the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit to live in us.
And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees: When they spring up, seeing them you know that summer is near. So also you, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near." Jesus used the fig tree example because this tree bears its first fruit in the spring, but the largest harvest in the summer. So, the resurrection of Jesus was the first, and then our resurrection.
And when we see “signs in the sun, on the moon and in the stars; and on earth, anguish of nations in confusion; roaring the sea and the waves; men fainting because of the fear and expectation of things that will come upon the earth; because the powers of the heavens will be moved " we will rejoice because our redemption is near.
The end of the world will not be realized before the Son of God will come in the clouds. Therefore, when the world around is in fear and anguish, we trust in the promises of God that we already have in baptism. Therefore, says Saint Paul, we should not live in gluttony and drunkenness, but keep alert for the coming of the Lord. In this hope we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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