Monday, December 3

“Christ is all that matters and he lives in all of us.”

Candle Lighter: “You have been raised…”
Response: “…to new life with Christ.”

Scripture: Colossians 3:1-11

3 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

Reader: These are the words of God as spoken through the Apostle Paul.
Response: Thanks be to God.

Some thoughts:
A little context for this short passage may be helpful. This pericope begins with the word “since,”… a clue to look at what came before. There is a phrase in verse twenty of the previous chapter which states “since you have died with Christ…” Paul’s contrasts that statement with “since you have been raised…with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven.” In a season consumed with joyful music, parties, and celebrations, there is a strong pull to focus solely on what is happening right now. We all do it and find it very natural. How does a phrase like “dying with Christ” connect with a Christmas party? They don’t seem remotely related. So how do we connect them?  “Dying with Christ” is not a once and for all thing. We are called daily to die to self, to ambition, and to temptation. The world in which we live has much trouble dying to itself. It is hard to notice other things when consumed with oneself. Paul, who is in prison as he writes this letter, admonishes his readers, (us), to set our sights on the realities of heaven. So how do we do that in walking through this season as we draw closer and closer to the Nativity? In Jesus’ day, Herod was consumed with his own power. The magi, in contrast, were tuned beyond this immediate world in looking for the King of Israel.  When Jesus came to this world as a baby, very few noticed His arrival. The fact that Jesus is in our midst whenever two or three come together now, for example, is a shock to many people and a truth that is met with unbelief. The fourth verse of chapter three, however, assures us this will not be the case when He returns in glory as Paul refers to “when Christ is revealed to the whole world.”  Since we have been buried with Christ in baptism and raised to a new life in Christ, let us live as shepherds and magi, people who recognize Jesus among us…until He comes in full glory with all His angels at the last trumpet! Let us set our sights on heaven, the location of the ultimate celebration of the King of kings.

Music: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”     Barlow Girl

Also  Sam Robson and A cappella Ft.Friends

Another wonderful setting that’s a bit different! Beautiful!

Lord Jesus, who lives in us and among us, grant that we would live with an awareness of your presence more often than we do, that we would live in anticipation of your return more often than we do, that we would speak to those around us who live only for this world more often than we do, and that we would talk with and listen to you more often than we do. Grant that we would daily die to self, take up our cross and follow you until the day of your return. O come, O come Emmanuel and ransom this captive world. In the name of our glorious Lord, who became a child that we might become the children of God. Amen.
Daniel Sharp

© 2018 Dan Sharp – All rights reserved