Read Romans 13:8-14
8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
11And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (NIV)
The season of Advent always begins with Scripture passages reminding us that not only did Christ come, but that Christ is coming again. We need to remind ourselves of this because life has a way of taking us places we don’t necessarily want to go. The routine of life can distract us from the love of God and the love of neighbor. And it seems that retailers know how to distract us. One of the things that has fascinated me is the way that Christmas Day is somewhat anticlimactic now. I watch in the neighborhoods I have lived in that people are actually taking their decorations down on Christmas Day. Many others wait until the day after, but seem to relish in getting them down. After all, they have been up so long, that they have lost their luster.
And that is the problem we can have in waiting for Christ to come again. It has been so long, that we are simply wanting to get on with our lives. This is part of what Paul is reminding the Romans. Paul has been talking about our relationship with Government and concludes that section with giving to one another what is owed. He writes in verse 7, “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Paul then moves into the one debt that we can never completely pay back, the ongoing debt of loving one another.
Paul moves from this to a call for the readers to “Wake Up!” Note, he is writing to believers. He reminds them that their salvation is closer than when they first believed. The Christian calendar has two periods that are wake up calls. One is lent and the other is advent. These are both times of preparation. Times when we reflect deeply on our relationship with Christ and what Christ has done for us. It is easy to let the things of this world cloud our relationship with Christ.
The Advent season is a call to wake up. It is a time to spend with Christ, to be clothed by Christ and to further our walk with Christ. Yes, we celebrate with friends and family, but we do it with Christ.
Questions and Comments?
Blessings and Peace