It’s the Advent Season. Growing up Pentecostal and then becoming Dutch Reformed (Calvinist) the first did not celebrate this season and the latter, while it sort of remembered it, did not encourage us to celebrate it since it’s not found, specifically, in the Scriptures. However, as a Lutheran, I have found great freedom in celebrating the Seasons of the Church year and all the traditions that come with it. From the O, Antiphons, to Advent hymns which remind us of the First Advent of Christ as an infant in the womb of Mary and a babe in the manger and calls us to remember that the Second Advent, the Return of the King, is nearer than it was last year. I read the Scriptures with renewed vigor and delight as I read over and over that God is our Father and Christ is the source of our salvation.
As I was reading from the Treasury of Daily Prayer for today (12/19) a few things struck me, which happened to coincide with a conversation I had with our pastor’s wife and a dear friend at Tuesday’s Ladies Bible Study.
In discussing the differences in a theological approach I shared how when I first was becoming Lutheran (before our Confirmation on 9/10/2017) I looked for “systematic theology” texts at Concordia Publishing House’s website and did not find them. Instead, I found Dogmatics. My pastor shared that Lutherans prefer to simply teach what the Word says instead of trying to “systematize God” in order to fit Him into a nice and neat box. What I found is that the whole approach to God and Christ is that while Calvinists begin with the Nature of God, Lutherans begin with the Love of God in Christ. How comforting! Lutherans focus on the love God has shown to a fallen, sin-sick and often sin-loving people rather than us trying to figure out the nature of God. What a difference it is indeed!
When I think of Comfort and this Scripture text this hymn comes to mind: