Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Birth of the Savior
2 Corinthians 7:1-16
“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
(2 Corinthians 7:1)
One of the questions which we are bound to ask ourselves when we take part in the Holy Communion is: What exactly are we doing? Well the answer is that we are aiming to make progress in the things of God. We are aiming at advancement in grace and in personal sanctification. We are aiming at perfection, striving to renew the image of God within us. This is what happens, little by little, week by week, and year by year, to those who exercise their souls, by faith, in these means of grace – through the Word, the sacraments, and prayer and fellowship.
It is to this that the apostle Paul is referring to in today’s passage. Paul draws attention to three things in verse 1: first, the promises; second, the duty to cleanse ourselves; and third, “perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” The Christmas season reminds us of this need to reflect on God’s promises to humankind and the need to purify and prepare ourselves to receive these promises as we pursue holiness out of our devotion and respect for God.
Christmas is a celebration of God’s great promise of a Savior, the Redeemer of the whole world. It was on Christmas Day that Jesus Christ came into the world and is also the day he entered into human hearts. Thus, our commemoration of Christmas must begin with preparing our hearts so that Christ might dwell there. This requires forsaking all evil and sinful desires and deeds. We must become people in whom Christ truly dwells, because it is in this indwelling that our renewed life commences.
And we cannot begin to pursue holiness until Christ dwells in our hearts. Christ must be in us as the hope of glory. We must be new creatures in him. So then, it is most important for us that we watch ourselves and take heed to the way we live, the way we speak, to our walk and talk and conversation in the world. If there are practices in our life which we know to be less than biblical, then, especially at Christmastime, let us strive to find grace to put these things more and more out of our lives. If there are superstitious thoughts and ideas and practices, because of the infirmities of our flesh, then let us seek grace more and more to put them out of our lives in order that we may perfect holiness out of our reverence for God.
May our celebration of Christmas lead us to reflect on God’s great promise and enable us to prepare our hearts to lead holy lives in the sight of God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to prepare ourselves to be of good cheer this Christmas season. Enable us to experience your great promise and strengthen us to pursue holiness out of our awe and reverence for you. Amen.
Thought for the Day: Christmas is a time for us to prepare our hearts to receive Christ as our Lord and Savior and a time for us to renew our commitment to seek holiness in our lives.
Rev. Christopher Phil Daniel, St. Stephen’s M T C, New Jersey