Gathering

Read Isaiah 2:1-3a

Holidays are great fun, especially when many generations of family gather together for Christmas. Imagine getting a message from a family member in Michigan: “I can’t wait to spend Christmas with you at Mom’s!” Then you get an e-mail from a brother in California: “Looking forward to catching up when we get in for Christmas!” And then there’s a text from a third in North Carolina: “3 1 /2 wks & counting-can’t wait …” Our excitement builds when we realize we will be together again.

Our brothers and sisters in the reading from Isaiah are excited to share a message with us.  They say “Let’s go up to the house of God!  Let’s go home, with the people that we love, with the people that care about us.”  But it isn’t a once-a-year invitation, this invitation is given to us every time we meet in the name of Christ.  They want to experience this as often as possible!

I have experienced an example of this at the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) National Lutheran Youth Gathering.  Every three years 35,000 youth from around the country gather together for one purpose, to experience the love of Christ.  Many times we gather as strangers, but we leave as friends.

The last two gatherings I went too I experienced something amazing.  In the days, weeks, and months before the event I saw thousands of texts, e-mails , instagrams and conversations filled with excitement in anticipation of the event.  We were not disappointed.  I saw things, experienced things and felt things that I have not encountered anywhere else.  And in the weeks after the gathering many more e-mails, texts, tweets, and posts crisscrossed the nation and the world: “That was so great! Wish we could do it again!”  “See you in three years!” “This was a life changing event” Now imagine a worldwide gathering that won’t end after a few days but will last forever! That’s heaven.  I was completely amazed at how that one event changed the lives of so many youth.

It took a lot of hard work and planning by hundreds of dedicated people to put the National Youth Gathering together. But to put our heavenly reunion together it took Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection: He suffered and died to take away our sins so we would be fit to come, and Jesus is now preparing a place for us to stay eternally.  May your Advent season be blessed as you prepare yourselves for family gatherings, Christmas parties and the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

THE PRAYER: Lord, open our ears to hear our brothers and sisters calling us to gather together.  Let us  join our voices together as one.  Lead us to call those who have not yet heard Your invitation. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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