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"Picking the Right Tree"

Read Psalm 72:1-7.
May He defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance
to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor! Psalm 72:4

When I was growing up, our Christmas tree was always a freshly cut
tree. We used to buy them from our neighbor's produce stand. I
remember one year Dad picked a tree he thought was perfect, but
our neighbor shook his head and said, "Did you notice the bottom
of the trunk?" My Dad hadn't seen that it was club-footed. He would
have had to cut a foot off the bottom of the tree to make it fit the
stand. Another choice looked good, until our neighbor pointed out
how twisted and curved the trunk was; it would never stand up
straight. We quickly learned we could trust our neighbor to be a good,
reliable judge of Christmas trees.

The same is true of our Savior and our Judge. To be a good judge of
people He must be absolutely perfect and true. He can't judge out of
false motives, twisted reasons, or partiality, which is a good thing
when someone else has wronged us. But we also know we have
wronged plenty of people ourselves. So what happens when our
Judge turns His perfect, discerning eyes on us?

In this beginning of the second week of Advent we remember that
God our Father has called us to come up to His heavenly home.
But we are unworthy. Like unfit trees in a Christmas tree lot, we can
do nothing to cure our twisted hearts and corrupt minds. Nor can we
hide them from our all-knowing Judge. Despite our best efforts and
intentions we cannot make ourselves worthy of taking our place in
God's house.

But that is why we celebrate Jesus' first coming in Bethlehem so
many years ago. He did not come as our mighty Judge. He came
as our humble Savior. He lived the perfect life we could never live so
that receiving His perfection as our own, we might be acceptable
before our Heavenly Father. And on the cross He took our
punishment upon Himself so that He might satisfy the just wrath of
God in our place. Because of His life, death, and resurrection -- and
the faith He has given us in Word and Sacraments -- we are ready to
stand before Him when He comes as Judge. Then He will declare us f
it to come into the house of the Lord and remain there forever.


Jesus Christ, thank You for being our Savior from sin and death. When
we stand before Your judgment seat we know we will be found worthy
to inherit eternal life in Your Father's Kingdom because of Your life,
death, and resurrection. Receive our heartfelt praise and thanks. Amen.

(Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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