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Thanksgiving, Advent and the Heart of a Pastor

Yesterday morning I read from the pen of the apostle John as he expressed a heart of thanks for the people of God. In 3 John 1:4 he writes:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

As I began to think of all the things my heart is thankful for, I found myself cheering alongside the beloved apostle in his joyful sentiments. There is no greater joy for a pastor than to see, hear and experience the children of God walking in the truth of Jesus Christ. And by God’s grace, I am seeing the Church of the Cross family walking this out in the thick and thin of everyday life. What a day for Thanksgiving! 

And the thanksgiving continues as we begin our first Sunday of Advent this weekend. Advent season begins the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and ends Christmas Eve. Advent means “coming.” We not only remember God’s faithfulness in the past but we also long for His promises to be fulfilled in the future. When we look forward to celebrating the first coming of Jesus Christ (his birth) during Advent, we also look forward to His Second Coming, when Jesus will return and put an end to sin and injustice.

The Advent season is a time for remembering and rejoicing, watching and waiting, and a time to reflect upon the promises of God and to anticipate the fulfillment of those promises with patience, prayer and preparedness. 

Advent is one of the ways we reorder our lives around the true story of the gospel. We remember who God is and what He has done in and through Jesus Christ. We also reflect on our true identity in Jesus and strive to live holy lives by the Spirit’s power. Advent stirs reflection, anticipation, and action in the hearts of God’s people.

I pray that during this time of Advent we would all continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, so that we:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

I love you, Family, and you truly are my joy!