December 21
Bill Koehne

To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:7

Going through Confirmation or maybe even earlier, many of us memorized the verse, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9. This verse served as the theme for our school during the 2021-22 school year.  As I read today’s verse from Romans, I thought of this verse as well.

When we think of the Coming Christ during this Advent season the focus tends to be on the baby Jesus born in a stable and placed in a manger.  We don’t often think of the end game, Jesus’ death on the cross.  That is something I love about the Children’s Christmas Eve service at Grace.  Every year, for nearly 75 years, the service begins with carols sung by our students while standing in the form of a cross.  It portrays the full story.  The message, that we are justified by faith through the death of our Savior on the cross, is front and center. 

Paul reminds us of this message in the Ephesians verse above and in our verse for today from Romans.

In the Gospels we learn over and over of the love Jesus has for his followers.  Our faith grows as we see this love and the power of the Spirit playing out in our lives.  In our faith, we understand that we have been made righteous by the power of God’s saving love.  And with this righteousness firmly planted in our hearts we are sent out to serve.  What a wonderful cycle that occurs when we feed our faith and allow the Spirit to work within us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the seed of faith that you planted in me.  Help me today to live my life firmly rooted in your righteousness. Amen.

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