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Monday of the Week of Advent II

But as to the times and seasons, brethren, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night… therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. — I Thessalonians 5:1-11

Do we know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief, as did the Christians in Thessalonica? Most live today as if that day will never come. St. Paul fully expected that the day of the Lord would come soon, in his lifetime. He writes continually about how to live knowing that the return of the Lord was imminent. Some of Paul’s advice, such as to not marry, isn’t applicable today. If Christians were to stop marrying and having children for the Lord, Christianity would die out!

But Paul’s advice about how to live in this in-between time is as relevant today as it was then. In our lesson, Paul writes, “let us keep awake and be sober… put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation…” And finally, our passage concludes, “encourage one another and build one another up.”

It’s hard enough for us to survive during this time between Jesus’ ascension and His second coming. But even more so when we tear each other down and hinder the mission of Christ by bickering, unkindness and lack of charity within the Church. We would like to think that it is in our congregations as it was in Thessalonica—that the faithful are encouraging one another and building one another up. The opposite is often the case, as congregations fuss with one another, pastors and church leaders bash and bite at each other, the body is torn apart rather than built up.

As we await Christ’s return, let us not be found tearing down rather than building up! Beloved, let us love one another in the Body of Christ!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us be your Church! Use us to build up and encourage one another. Amen.

Advent Action: Write an encouraging note to your pastor, congregational staff member or lay leader.

The 2016 Advent Devotional, based on Year I of the LBW and written by Pastor David Wendel, is available for download/printing in two formats and as a daily text/email message.

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