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I am coming soon

December 11, 2013

2nd Sunday of Advent2nd Sunday of Advent

“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown”. Rev 3:11  

The Advent wreath or crown is part of the Christmas customs and traditions that are not in the Bible, but that have been handed down to us as children. Its four candles announce holiday cheer. Week after week, candlelight grows until all is lit during Christmas. We know what is meant by the candles, but why a green crown?

The words of the Lord, Jesus Christ, which we heard from our preaching text, can help us to understand the symbolic meaning of the Advent wreath. Yes, we could even believe that in these words Jesus is talking about our Advent wreaths, even though the custom of our wreaths is no more than 150 years old. Our preaching text says: “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” The word crown makes us think of the crown of victory, which is spoken of several times in the New Testament. In the ancient sport competitions, victors were honored with a laurel wreath that was placed on their head. Great winning generals and kings returning to their land were also honored in this way. Eventually, some kings gave themselves permanent gold crowns that were placed on the head. This developed over time into our use of crowns.

When the Bible speaks in a figurative sense of the “crown,” (sometimes “the crown of life” is mentioned) one thinks of the glorious entrance of the children of God to heaven, to eternal salvation. There the children of God will be the victors; victors over sin, death and the devil. Everyone will be a winner because of the one who took the win for all: Jesus Christ, our Savior, our Redeemer. When he comes on the Day of Judgment to judge the living and the dead, then all will belong to him and will be co – winners. The sign for this is the crown of victory, the crown of life. We could also speak of an “Advent crown” because Advent comes from Latin meaning “coming” and is about the arrival and victory of the redeemed that will be visible in the second coming of Jesus to the world. Recall that: A correct use of our Advent wreath could be not only a symbol of joy before Christmas, but also a symbol of joy before heaven. For this reason wreaths are laid on graves; they are placed as a symbol of hope in a happy and victorious resurrection.

Now we want to pay attention to what our Lord wants to tell us regarding the Advent wreath, or rather, the crown of victory: “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” He says, “you have” and with that he speaks about our victory over sin, death and the devil. We already have that salvation, so we can say: ‘we already have it in our pocket.’ Jesus sought us by His death on the cross and we by our baptism and full recognition of it we have personally appropriated of it. That’s why it’s not just a hope for the future and a future joy by heaven, but what the word means is that we are God’s children and we now belong to God’s kingdom.

“What you have”, this means you have a mighty savior on your side to accompany you throughout your life as a Christian. You will have difficult times in your life, and he will give you comfort, and will not leave you alone, but will give you strength so that you can handle whatever life throws at you. You have a sincere communion with other Christians; you are able to love and be happy for the love that He gives you. You can join the beautiful worship in communion with other Christians, you can praise and pray to see and enjoy the goodness of the Lord in the Holy Communion. At all times God has an open ear for you; you can talk to him anytime. You have skills and talents and gifts that you have received from the Holy Spirit, with whom you can work together in the kingdom of God to spread the gospel so that it remains for future generations. As a child of God you have much; the crown of victory and you may look forward to eternal salvation at the end of times. As a child of God you have a treasure, which is infinitely more valuable than all the treasures of this world.

Jesus exhorts us: “Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” When he speaks of holding, he is thinking about your faith. The term “hold” clearly explains what faith is: we receive a gift and we want to keep it, i.e. the redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here we realize that every believer has salvation, no matter if their faith is big or small. Anyone with a gift in hand, has the gift entirely, no matter if you are holding it strongly or weakly. Those who hold their gift weakly are in danger that the gift can fall out of their hands and they can lose. It is best that we keep our faith strong. We have salvation but it is also easy for it to flee from us or it may also be stolen from us. “Hold on to what you have ” Jesus calls us. Hold on to salvation with strong faith so that you do not lose it in times of temptation. “Hold on to what you got.”

This exhortation of our Lord is found very often in the Bible, not just in the letter of Revelation. It is always made ​​with great seriousness and importance. The exhortation is to not lose faith, that faith not be abandoned, but rather be kept to the last. “Watch,” Jesus says elsewhere. “Watch” in the sense that Jesus uses it means nothing more than to keep faith awake. “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning” (Lk 12:35) it is written in another place. It means the same thing. In the parable of the ten virgins, the reserve oil for the lamps is what symbolizes the importance on faith. In the parable of the four types of land, it is the problem of the seeds that fall on the rocks. They start growing but cannot develop roots and because of that they wither; only the seeds that develop deep roots will bear fruit at the end of the season. Yes, dear sisters and brothers in Christ, this is most important: our faith must be a faith that is constant, crisis-proof, and one that we can grasp and keep to the end. “Hold on to what you have.”

And how can we to keep our salvation, our faith, until the end? It happens only when we stay connected to Him who calls us to this. It happens only when we maintain our daily conversation with Him, when we remain in prayer. It happens only when we abandon the illusion that we can do everything in life and that we have control over everything. It happens only when we throw ourselves into the arms of God “in faith and obedience, faithful until the end.” Only when we seek God’s Word and it becomes as important to us and familiar as our daily bread. Only then, when we do not leave the fellowship with other Christians, the communion of saints, and we can pray together and with each other and when we can take comfort and encourage one another through the Word of God. Only then can the Holy Spirit come to us and strengthen our faith. “Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown!” . Amen

Revelation 3:7-13

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