November 28, 2016
Read verses: 1 Peter 1:13-16
13 “Therefore, once you have your minds ready for action and you are thinking clearly, place your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 Don’t be conformed to your former desires, those that shaped you when you were ignorant. But, as obedient children, 15 you must be holy in every aspect of your lives, just as the one who called you is holy. 16 It is written, you will be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:13-16 CEB).
This is a time of year when we can, unlike what Peter suggests, have minds that are not ready for action and are not thinking clearly. There is just so much to do: concerts, socials, programs, parties, work, and church activities. These can leave us walking around in a daze, simply existing through this season rather than truly engaging it and having our hearts warmed by the birth of the Christ-child. We can miss the mark of being fully alive while we drift through the winter wonderland and muddle. We can find ourselves on the other side of celebrating the birth of Christ feeling exhausted and, if we are totally honest, we can completely miss the importance.
Peter calls his readers, and you and me, to holiness in light of the coming of Jesus Christ and the holy character of the God who calls us to salvation. And while he was talking about the promised coming that you and I still hope for, this Advent season is when we again remember that we have this same hope. If we are going to be fully alive, our lives and our holiness need to be wrapped up in the coming of the Christ Child whom we celebrate. Living fully alive is looking to our Holy God and using this season of preparation to establish a habit of obedience and holiness.
But what does that look like? John Wesley, the founder of the United Methodist movement, describes what a habit of obedience that reflects God’s holiness might look like. In his sermon The Means of Grace, he says that there are certain activities that cultivate a deep holiness: reading scripture, persisting in prayer, receiving Holy Communion, fasting, and committing to life in community with one’s sisters and brothers in faith. Let us take time during this Advent season to discern how God is leading us to develop our own habit of obedience. Let us become fully alive as we commit our minds to the pursuit of holiness.
Holy God, you call us to be holy as you are holy. You call us to think clearly and to pursue hope based on the Christ Child we celebrate. Empower us in these busy days to keep our heart and minds free from the distractions of the season and focused on you so that we may be like you. Amen.