The Rev. John Magnuson '13, Associate Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries, Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Titus 2:11 – 3:8a
2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12 training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
15 Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one look down on you.
3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8a The saying is sure.
This passage is the perfect reminder during Advent of what we celebrate and where we are in life; between the first and second coming of Jesus. Along with Paul we rejoice that God has appeared in Jesus, bringing salvation to all (2:11). This is our celebration of the birth of Jesus, full of festive love and joy. We sing Away in a Manger and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
And yet, Paul continues in saying that we also wait for manifestation of the glory of our God and savior Jesus Christ (2:13). In this verse we find the hope and peace of Advent. We wait in hope for the coming peace manifested in the reign of Jesus as Lord over all. In this waiting period we sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and Joy to the World.
And so may your Advent season this year be full of Love, Joy, Peace, and Hope; for Jesus has come and we await his coming again.
Loving God, we give you thanks for sending your Son our Lord Jesus into this world, bringing with him love and joy. We thank you for the salvation which we have received through your grace. In busy times, may we not forget and not lose hope that Jesus is coming again to manifest the reign of his peace throughout the whole world. As we sing this Christmas season may we join our voices with countless others in hope of new life that is given through you. Amen.