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God draws near to us

Divine service theme for the month of December: "God draws near to us"

On the first Sunday of December we celebrate the first of Advent. In the time leading up to the celebration of Christmas, the Sunday services will explore various points of emphasis of the theme “God draws near to us”. We begin this series by reflecting on the idea that in Jesus Christ the light has shone into the darkness of humanity, which lives in remoteness from God, and that in His light we can ourselves become a light for others.

The second Sunday of Advent then goes on to cast light on the glad tidings that the Savior brings to sinners as He draws near to them: He has established the path upon which sinners are liberated from the rule of sin—and upon which they can enter into what will then be eternal fellowship with God.

“God with man”—this is the focus of the divine service on the third Sunday of Advent. God takes on flesh in Jesus Christ and reveals Himself to man in grace, truth, and love. It is upon Him that our election, our redemption, the gospel, and the mission of the Apostles is founded.

The liberating message “The love of God appears” defines the divine service on the fourth Sunday of Advent. The incarnation of God in Jesus Christ and the latter’s sacrificial death eliminate all doubts about the love of God.

The divine service on Christmas Day directs our attention to the fact that this love of God expresses itself in certain signs: the manger, the cross, and the church of Christ. We are called upon to respond to the love God shows us, and to proclaim it by showing love to our neighbor in turn.

We conclude the year by reflecting on all the things for which we can give thanks to God. This gratitude strengthens our trust in His leadership up until the fulfilment of His plan of redemption. What was begun when God first drew near to us will then lead to salvation in never-ending fellowship with Him: eternal life.

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