REJOICE: CELEBRATE CHANGE
Zephaniah calls Jerusalem to celebration (v14). The Lord has taken away the judgments against us (v 15). The Lord is in our midst (verse 17). Isaiah exhorts us to sing praise to the Lord for his glorious achievements while St. Paul calls us to rejoice! Meanwhile, we hear John’s preaching about the concrete demands of a sincere conversion, of true change. Joy is the theme of this 3rd Sunday of advent. It is a call to celebrate a genuine change of heart and mind of the Christian.
HOW DO WE CELEBRATE CHANGE?
1º CHOOSE HONESTY: ALLOW NEW GROWTH EVERYDAY
Sirach 29:3 Keep your promise, be honest with him, and you will always come by what you need.
♥ Confront Dishonesty with the Prince of Truth! Remember that Christ is Truth Incarnate!
To the tax collectors: “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Lk 3:12-13
To the Soldiers: “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” Lk 3:14
“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” – Spencer Johnson
“Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.” – William Shakespeare
“To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.” – Edward R. Murrow (American Journalist, 1908-1965)
2º CONFRONT HABITS: ANXIETY, NEGATIVITY, GREED & EGO (EASING GOD OUT)
♥ Confront useless anxiety with God’s Love!
Anxiety is considered to be a normal reaction to stress. It may help a person to deal with a difficult situation, for example at work or at school, by prompting one to cope with it. But when anxiety becomes excessive, it may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder!
“Do not be anxious about anything. (Phil 4:6).
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
♥ Confront negativism with Faith in God’s Promises!
Be glad and exult with all your heart… the Lord has removed the judgment against you… Fear not, be not discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst! (Zeph 3:14-20)
♥ Confront greed by giving and sharing. Our greedy, avaricious & selfish attitudes must change.
To the crowds: “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Lk 3:10-11
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” -Buddhist saying
Ego (Easing God Out)
♥ Confront attitudes that make God ‘your last resort’.
“In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).
3º CELEBRATE HOPE AND NAVIGATE BY GOD’S EXHORTATIONS
♥ Celebrate hope by thanksgiving.
Give thanks to the Lord,acclaim his name. (Is 12:4a)
♥ Celebrate hope by making Him known.
Make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name. (Is 12:4b)
♥ Celebrate hope by proclaiming that
“God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord. He has been my savior.” Is 12:2
Navigate by God’s Exhortations
♥ Live by God’s Precepts.
Psalm 19:9 The precepts of theLORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
♥ Like John, let us also exhort others to navigate with God through our words and deeds.
Exhorting them in many other ways, John preached good news to the people. (Lk 3:18)
Are you ready to celebrate change this Christmas? ♥