Thursday of Advent II – Philippians 1:2-11

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

It felt like we were not ready. Every year the children of the congregation and the parochial school led a special Christmas service. The preparations for the year in question seemed like it was particularly chaotic. There had been a rehearsal cancelled for snow, I recollect. A few key voices would be visiting family in Texas right at the time we had scheduled the event. My anxiety was starting to grow over this project. I was imagining failure.

The director, a woman who had done this multiple times, could sense this in me. She simply said, “It will all come together. Don’t worry.” Of course, she was right. There was hidden talent in the singers which no one had perceived until the strong voices were gone in Texas. The children did a great job. The people who came enjoyed it. As far as I know, no video clip has ever gone viral on YouTube for catastrophic failure.

In vs. 6 of the reading from Philippians, Paul says something very similar to the Christmas Service director. He is sure that God will bring to completion the good work which he has started in us. Sometimes I look at my whole life and see impending doom, but when I do that, I am looking at the wrong thing: me! God has begun a good work in me in my baptism. Throughout this life I am a work in progress, not quite ready for prime time. But do not imagine that the burden of being fit for heaven’s perfection lies on my shoulders. God is doing this. I will participate, I will make decisions and be a part of this, but it is the Lord who accomplishes this. He is the One who will raise me spotless and perfect on that last of our Lord Jesus.

He has begun that same good work in you. I am sure that the folks in ancient Philippi had their doubts just like you do. Hear the encouragement and comfort of Paul today. God is at work in you, bringing you to a goal which He has set, to a condition which only He knows, by His unlimited power and grace.

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