圣诞节12天特别灵修 | 1月5日

1月5日

【多2:11】因为 神救众人的恩典已经显明出来,

【多2:12】教训我们除去不敬虔的心和世俗的情欲,在今世自守、公义、敬虔度日,

【多2:13】等候所盼望的福,并等候至大的 神和(或无“和”字)我们救主耶稣基督的荣耀显现。

【多2:14】他为我们舍了自己,要赎我们脱离一切罪恶,又洁净我们,特作自己的子民,热心为善。

每一年圣诞日临近时,我们家的圣诞树总是楼梯旁边一道亮丽的风景。树上装饰着彩灯和这一年来收集的各种装饰品,有手工制作的小饰品,有朋友送的小礼物,有各种纪念品。我爸喜欢把金属箔片放到树上,他放的时候非常小心,每根树枝子上放三条。圣诞树装饰好之后非常漂亮,但是它还不完整,因为树下面空空如也,礼物还没有放在那里。

平安夜的敬拜结束之后,我和我的兄弟上床睡觉,虽然这个时候圣诞树下还是空无一物,但是我们睡觉前并不担心,因为每一年都会发生相同的事情,当我们醒来之后,我们的父母已经把包好的礼物放在树下,这样我们就可以互赠礼物了。

在提多书里,保罗说神的恩典教训我们要自守度日,这或许正是我小时候所需要的,那时我总是很焦急的想知道包装里面是什么礼物。我们会等待,我们会猜测,我们希望那是我们想要的东西。但是到最后,那里面是什么已经不重要了,让礼物变得特殊的是那种期待、那种激动、那种对里面所包含物品的盼望。

而我们作为基督徒,我们也在等候。只不过这份礼物要伟大的多,是无以言表的。我们在等候一个盼望,这盼望是有福的,因为这取决于是谁给我们这盼望以及这盼望建立在什么根基之上。这盼望是属于你的,这盼望来自于我们伟大的神和救主,他已经救赎了你,已经藉着他在十字架上的死拯救你脱离了一切邪恶。

所以当你等候时,愿你在这盼望中度日。平安夜我睡觉之前,绝对不会担心有没有礼物,因为每年礼物都会在那里。同样,你盼望神的显现,这盼望也是确定的,因为耶稣已经来了。他显现在这世界上让自己被看见,向你显明他的恩典和对你无尽的爱。他还要在荣耀中再来,当他再次显现时,他要把自己的百姓带去和他永远同在。

在那天到来之前,愿你一直热切期盼神所赐的那无以言表的礼物,愿你一直在这期盼中度日。除去不敬虔的心,自守度日。当你热切的盼望亲眼看到神的儿子显现时,愿你也同样热切的去行善。在盼望中度日。你所盼望的那荣耀的救主就是你的礼物,这礼物已经包好、正在等着你,愿你活在这盼望中。当你看到他的荣耀,你就知道这礼物无以言表。

祷告:亲爱的天父,我们赞美感谢你,因为你恩慈的把你的儿子作为礼物赐给我们,他已经救赎我们脱离一切邪恶。我们期盼他再次显现,在期盼的过程中我们承认自己常常会在等候中变得焦虑。求你赐给我们力量,除去罪和不敬虔的心,热心行善。求你帮助我们定睛在我们确定的救恩之上,这救恩是耶稣的宝血为我们赢得的、无以言表的礼物。奉耶稣的名,阿们。

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 2:11-14 (NIV84)

Every year as Christmas Day approached, our family tree was always a spectacular sight near our staircase. It was adorned with colorful lights and ornaments collected through the years, either homemade keepsakes, gifts from friends, or mementos. My dad always liked to put tinsel on the tree, and he did so with painstaking care, just three strands on each branch. It always looked beautiful when it was decorated, but as it stood it just wasn’t complete. Because underneath the tree was empty. The gifts weren’t there yet.

Even though it stayed that way until my brother and I went to bed after the Christmas Eve service, we never went to bed worried, because every year the same thing happened. When we woke up, our parents had put the wrapped presents under the tree so that we could give each other gifts.

In Titus, Paul says that God’s grace teaches us to live self-controlled lives. Perhaps I needed that when I was younger and was anxious to see what was beneath the wrapping. We would wait. We would guess. We would hope it was what we wanted. But in the end, what was inside didn’t really matter. It was the anticipation, the excitement, the hope of what was contained inside that made it so special.

Now as Christians, we wait again. Only the gift is so much greater. It’s indescribable. We wait for a hope, a hope that is blessed because of who gives us that hope and what it is founded on. That hope, which is yours, comes to you from our great God and Savior, who has redeemed you and saved you from all wickedness through his death on the cross.

So as you wait, live in that hope. I never went to bed on Christmas Eve worried about whether there would be presents there, because they were there every year. In the same way, your hope in God’s appearance is certain because Jesus already came. He appeared on this earth to visibly show you his grace and the unending love he has for you. He will come again in glory. And when he appears again, it will be to take the people that are his very own to be with him forever.

Until that day comes, live in that eager anticipation of the appearing of God’s indescribable gift. Say no to ungodliness. Live in self-control. Be as eager to do what is good as you are eager to see the appearing of God’s Son with your very own eyes. And live in hope. Live in the hope that your glorious Savior is your gift—wrapped and waiting. And when you see his glory, that gift will be indescribable.

Prayer:Dear Father in heaven, we praise and thank you for giving us the gracious gift of your Son, who has redeemed us from all wickedness. As we live in anticipation of his reappearing, we confess that we often grow anxious in our waiting. Give us the strength to say no to sin and ungodliness and to be eager to do what is good. Help keep our eyes on that indescribable gift of our sure salvation, won for us in Jesus’ blood. Amen.

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