Read 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Imagine yourself opening this letter after a particularly bad day. If you’re anything like me, you’d plop down in your chair, tears welling in your eyes, and be utterly thankful that God saw it fit to reach down and pull you up with this sweet, happy memory. Wouldn’t you like to get a letter like this — to hear that someone is actually thankful for you and hoping Jesus has enriched your life? This love expressed is genuine and rooted deep in their soul, making you feel as though you’ve really made a difference.
What a blessed gift to be reminded of a happy memory! When we hear bad news concerning a family member, the loss of a job, or something else, we often just can’t see how Jesus is working. But when we recall a time in our past where God was working, it brings us hope for the present. Think back to a time when you were having a rough day and a friend stopped you in your tracks, asked if you’re okay, or offered to help. You may have thought their interest in you was strange at first, but looking back, you realize it was Jesus stepping in.
Perhaps the hardest thing for us to remember during tough times is the grace we’re given. Just like the seat belts holding us in our car, we usually don’t sense or feel its presence until we need it. Nevertheless, it’s always there. Grace will come through for us all the time, despite our forgetfulness. While our faith ebbs and flows, we can be sure that Jesus’ faithfulness will remain – it won’t take a holiday.
In this season, as we’re anxiously awaiting our holiday, we can hold onto past memories of God’s faithfulness. Consider this: the Israelites we read about only had stories foretelling the Messiah. His arrival wasn’t in their past but in their future. Their memories were full of struggles and oppression, but even they could draw from prophecies of promised future grace from the One who’d create a new Kingdom for them. By looking back at these promises, they could fervently hope again.
The Israelites looked forward to when Jesus would appear — and we look forward to “the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7 ESV). We anxiously await for Jesus to return. Yet as we wait, we can look back on His grace in the past. For though we don’t always fully understand, God’s grace and faithfulness are always with us, free for the taking.
Reflection and Response
Advent is all about remembering. Take a few minutes today to recount God’s faithfulness and grace in your life since last Christmas.
By Rich Obrecht