I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.
Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi reads like a love letter because it is. The faithful in Philippi have a great affection for Paul and he feels the same way about them. You can feel an energy between them in this passage and it is derived from their common “sharing in the gospel.” Paul, who is imprisoned, feels the power of the gospel through the support, the prayer circle if you will, of the Philippian people. Isn’t that awesome?
Think about how comforting it is to know that prayers and the sharing of the gospel, even at a distance, can have such a profound affect on another believer. Let’s lift each other up in prayer, share the gospel and feel the loving energy that Paul felt when he wrote this letter. There is no better way for us to feel renewed this Advent, and more ready for the arrival of the Christ child, than by building each other up through prayers of joy.
Heavenly Father, we want to feel joyous and loved through the exercise of our faith. We are ready this Advent to join together with the gospel as our focus, to open our hearts to the new things that you have in mind for us. While we might want to know what lies ahead, we know that only you see the blueprint. Help us to focus on Jesus’ birth so we can understand how unconditional your love is for us, and in that love let us find comfort in knowing that you will guide us. May we feel as exuberant as Paul thanks to the sharing in the gospel of our fellow followers of Christ at Guilford Park Presbyterian. Amen.