LHM Advent Devotion – December 7, 2014 “Picking the Right Tree”

 

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Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Reverend Wayne Palmer

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int’l LLL (LHM). 

 

“Picking the Right Tree”
The Second Sunday in Advent

December 7, 2014

2014 Advent Devotions cover

Read Psalm 72:1-7.
May He defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor! Psalm 72:4
When I was growing up, our Christmas tree was always a freshly cut tree. We used to buy them from our neighbor’s produce stand. I remember one year Dad picked a tree he thought was perfect, but our neighbor shook his head and said, “Did you notice the bottom of the trunk?” My Dad hadn’t seen that it was club-footed. He would have had to cut a foot off the bottom of the tree to make it fit the stand. Another choice looked good, until our neighbor pointed out how twisted and curved the trunk was; it would never stand up straight. We quickly learned we could trust our neighbor to be a good, reliable judge of Christmas trees.

The same is true of our Savior and our Judge. To be a good judge of people He must be absolutely perfect and true. He can’t judge out of false motives, twisted reasons, or partiality, which is a good thing when someone else has wronged us. But we also know we have wronged plenty of people ourselves. So what happens when our Judge turns His perfect, discerning eyes on us?

In this beginning of the second week of Advent we remember that God our Father has called us to come up to His heavenly home. But we are unworthy. Like unfit trees in a Christmas tree lot, we can do nothing to cure our twisted hearts and corrupt minds. Nor can we hide them from our all-knowing Judge. Despite our best efforts and intentions we cannot make ourselves worthy of taking our place in God’s house.

But that is why we celebrate Jesus’ first coming in Bethlehem so many years ago. He did not come as our mighty Judge. He came as our humble Savior. He lived the perfect life we could never live so that receiving His perfection as our own, we might be acceptable before our Heavenly Father. And on the cross He took our punishment upon Himself so that He might satisfy the just wrath of God in our place. Because of His life, death, and resurrection — and the faith He has given us in Word and Sacraments — we are ready to stand before Him when He comes as Judge. Then He will declare us fit to come into the house of the Lord and remain there forever.

THE PRAYER: Jesus Christ, thank You for being our Savior from sin and death. When we stand before Your judgment seat we know we will be found worthy to inherit eternal life in Your Father’s Kingdom because of Your life, death, and resurrection. Receive our heartfelt praise and thanks. Amen.

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