We live in anxious times because our society is overwhelmed by the quantity and speed of change. In chronically anxious systems, people become reactive rather than thoughtful; people tend to blame outsider agents for their problems; people want a quick-fix for their pain and discomfort. Politicians and our news media sources feed off the anxiety of our culture, because people want a message that reinforces what they want to hear as a way of dealing with their anxiety.
The apostle Paul writes: “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” [1 Thessalonians 5:18]
Into our world filled with anxious people, the second reading for the Third Sunday of Advents seems quite out of place. But maybe, that is the point of this text to pull us back from the anxiety in our lives and focus us on what is truly important in life—family, friends and faith.
So, as we move nearer to the blessed day of Christmas, we would do well to linger over Paul’s words:
“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
[1 Thessalonians 5:18]
Gracious Lord, blesses us as we prepare for your coming again. Amen
Norman L. Bauer - First Lutheran Church in Algona, IA