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“Advent Family Traditions”
By Rev. Tom Tuura
Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church

2023 Theme: Family The Family of God...
Word Study of families in the Bible

Last month we talked about creation.  One of our points was about the future coming resurrection of the dead, and how that relates to God’s creation, as God restores what was damaged by the fall into sin back to His original perfect design.  This includes as I stated, “The restoration of the first heaven and earth are followed at the end of time by the New Heaven and the New Earth.  God will restore and resurrect His entire creation and those called by the Holy Spirit and redeemed by the blood of His Son.  Why? Because they are His—He made them and He will make it right.”  


Well it’s December and we conclude another year, at least as far as the liturgical calendar.  The four Sunday’s of Advent are before us.  

One of the towns we lived in had a restaurant called the Family Tradition.  Family tradition… Hopefully there are many memories that are stored in your heads and hearts of warm family traditions.  Or if you are like many, hopefully there are at least a few.  If you have many wonderful memories, you are very fortunate.

Our Theme for 2023 was the Family.  We looked at family from the perspective of biblical examples.  Of course the Christmas narrative is a story of families.

In addition to the new family, a young unmarried couple, named Mary and Joseph, there is an older married couple, Zachariah and Elizabeth.  Then we have John the Baptist himself as a single individual.  

Our Advent messages will take a look at them, and see if we can get a glimpse of some of their family traditions.  

Let’s take a look at Zachariah and Elizabeth.  We know both their family background.  And looking at Luke chapter one, verse six we see they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.  Righteousness is no accident.  It is also a wonderful way to live your life.  It is said by people living by their own rules, and doing whatever seems right in their own eyes, that you get sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Sin itself is so empty, and a lifetime of sin is so much more so.  So this couple, like all couples that have put the Lord first in their lives, certainly enjoyed the fruits of godliness.  But even if they hadn’t lived lives dedicated to God, His grace and mercy can restore and heal many past indiscretions.  My folks are good examples of that.  They were good people, just not very dedicated to God in their younger years.  But later, for various reasons, were able to be drawn near.  

It’s true that this precious older couple, had the hardship of infertility.  God saw that.  And God saw their lives together in a unique way.  And the lesson is that we need to be available for God to use us no matter what our hardship is.  There is something for even current day Zachariah’s and Elizabeth’s of this world to do---thankfully it probably isn’t changing diapers of your own child in old age.  But God has something for all of us.   Remember  God called Noah when he was five hundred, and Moses when he was eighty.  He uses people of all ages!

What about John?  He had a unique birth, but also a unique calling.  Singleness was part of his calling.  1 Corinthians chapter seven starting with verse thirty-two, talks about the calling of singleness.  There Paul teaches that single people who are followers of Christ are dedicated specifically to Christ, which John was.  Another thing that was part of John’s identity, was his uniqueness.  Are you different?  I remember well, one of the biggest anxieties I had as a young person was that I was different.  I wanted to be the same.  I didn’t want to stand out.  I know now, I wasn’t.  Well, John probably stood out.  He ate locusts, and wild honey.  He wore a camel’s hair suit.  We don’t know when his tastes began to change, but like most of us, it probably wasn’t that he woke up at age twenty-five and ditched his blue jeans for camel’s hair, and pizza for locusts.  Do you feel different?  Most of us did.  Here’s some guidance from John the Baptist, one of the most different people in the Bible.   First, he honored his parents, and followed the lessons of his upbringing.  Second, he faithfully witnessed of God to others, and he preached the truth of God’s Word.  The Bible says he was a prophet in fulfillment of the Old Testament predictions for the Messiah.  Third, he wasn’t afraid of giving up the spotlight.  This is demonstrated several ways, as a rabbi himself with his own followers, he willingly and eagerly  let them go to follow Jesus.  And then on top of all of those things, he was content to become less, as Jesus became more.  In the end, he stayed true to right and wrong, as recorded in God’s Word as he stood up to power and paid the ultimate price in prison.

Well, these things are not exactly the family traditions we may think of, but nonetheless, family issues that are not that different than our own, but also challenge us to deeper dedication ourselves.

May we be like them.

That’s my view from the Blackberry Patch Pulpit

Pastor Tom

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