Wednesday after the Second Sunday in Advent
Scripture: Colossians 1:1-8 (NKJV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; 7 as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.
The saints are characterized by faith and love as they await the coming of Christ. It cannot be otherwise, for these are the fruits that the Gospel bears as it is sown throughout the world. Where the Gospel takes root in men’s hearts, it produces faith where there was only unbelief and thus creates saints where there were only sinners. Then, in those very saints, faith immediately begins to produce love for all the other saints, because we have come to know the truth of God, that we all equally deserve His wrath for our sins, but instead we have all equally received the grace of God in the sacrifice of His Son and in the forgiveness of our sins for His sake. Just as we are continually being sustained and strengthened in faith by Word and Sacrament, we are constantly being renewed and molded into the loving image of our loving God, with deeds of love that can be seen and known.
The faith and love of the saints are cause for thanksgiving to God; He is the One responsible for all of it, just as He is the One Who has laid up for us the hope of eternal life in Heaven. As we eagerly await that heavenly hope, may God’s grace to us in Christ Jesus spur us on to ever greater faith and to ever increasing devotion to one another, that all men may know we are disciples of Christ.
Collect: Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your Only-Begotten Son, so that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.