Curly head dolls that toddle and coo. Elephants, boats, and kiddie cars too. Santa Claus is comin’ to town.
You’ll hear those lyrics often during the holiday season—a song about a man who’s coming to bring all sorts of gifts. But...are they really gifts? The definition of a gift is "something given voluntarily without payment or condition". The man in red has conditions.
You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good...
If you give someone a gift only if they meet certain qualifications...that is not a gift.
There is one who is coming, bearing real gifts...profoundly important gifts. Jesus came that first Christmas to win forgiveness and give all the gifts that come with it: hope, peace, joy. He is coming again at the end of this world to give you the gift of resurrection to eternal life. In the season of Advent, we connect Christ’s first coming with his second coming. We rejoice in all the unconditional gifts he gives.
He is coming, bearing gifts. Join us in December as we prepare our hearts to meet him.
He Comes, Bearing Gifts
December 2 | The Gift of Hope
When you look at the downward spiral of humanity, it is easy to grow cynical. The world seems to grow more dangerous each year. People are more divided than they have been in a long time. Immorality is no longer something that people try to hide. As a nation...we have become largely disinterested in God. Disgusted by the world, we then look in the mirror...and things do not improve much. For we confess that we are not pillars of nobility and virtue either.
Looking at our world or at ourselves...it is easy to become jaded. But today, Christ Jesus wants us to set that aside and, instead...to live in hope. Our hope is not a naiÌˆve wish that things will get better. Our hope is rooted in the fact that Christ came at that first Christmas to forgive every sin. Our hope is that just as he kept his promise to come the first time, Jesus will keep his promise to come again and destroy everything that is wrong with Creation. Judgment Day will be full of incomprehensible terror for those who have aligned themselves with the world. But Christians hope that day comes soon. Confident that we are wrapped in Christ’s righteousness, it will be a day of great deliverance.
December 9 | The Gift of Peace
How do you feel when meeting someone important? Maybe it was a job interview with your potential future boss. Did you feel peaceful walking into that meeting? Or perhaps you were summoned...for a reason unknown to you...to come to the principal’s office at school? As you walked the hallway towards his door...were you at peace? When we come face-to-face with someone who can influence the direction of our lives, that tends to be nerve-wracking, not peaceful. How nervous will you be, then, when you stand face-to-face with your God, who will determine where you spend eternity?
God is much more than a boss or a principal. He is your Creator...the one who gave you life. And when he did, he intended you to use that life in a very specific way, one which would bring glory to him and beauty to this broken world. So...are you ready to meet him?
Today, we see that God wants you to be at perfect peace when you stand before him. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace...” the angels sang that first Christmas Eve. Through the work of Christ...sinners are at peace with a holy God. Even more, throughout history God’s messengers like John the Baptist proclaimed the gospel, so that God’s people could live in peace. God raises up a messenger to preach that gospel to you today.
December 16 | Welcome to Our World (Children's Christmas Service)
The children of Risen Savior Christian Academy and Risen Savior Lutheran Church share the story of Christmas in a service based on the popular Christmas song, "Welcome to Our World".
December 23 | The Gift of Joy
The ancient church had Latin titles for all their Sundays. They called the third Sunday in Advent “Gaudete Sunday”. The Latin word gaudete means rejoice. On some Advent wreaths, one of the candles is a pinkish rose color, symbolizing joy.
An encouragement to rejoice might sound odd in light of this Advent season’s themes, especially Christ’s second coming to this world. We have seen that when Jesus comes again he is going to judge all mankind and destroy the universe. Even the gospel reading for today warns about “the coming wrath” which will include “unquenchable fire”. If that is what Christ will bring at his second coming...how can we possibly live joyfully?
Answer: because of Christ’s first coming. When Jesus came that first Christmas, it wasn’t to bring judgment...but to bear judgment. Jesus was born, not to punish sin...but to be punished for sin. All those with faith in Christ know that when he comes for the second time, it will be to deliver us...not destroy us. He will not increase our pain but take every pain away. Then, and not a moment before...our lives will finally be perfect! And so, we live joyfully and thankfully, looking forward to Christ’s return.
Risen Savior is located 1 mile south of I-16 on Pooler Parkway...across from the new Pooler Fire Station #4