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Read James 5:7-9.
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. ...
Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
James 5:7a, 8

My favorite Christmas cookies growing up were made of
molasses and sugar. We called them "animal cookies"
because we shaped them with animal-shaped cookie cutters.
The worst part of making animal cookies is that once you
mixed up the dough, it had to sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Talk about a test of patience!

As a child, impatience seemed to go hand in hand with
Christmas. It seemed like that great, wonderful, magical day
would never, ever come.

There is a far greater day coming, however. It's that ultimate
Christmas when Jesus Christ will return to this world with all
His angels. He will raise all the dead and judge between those
who believed during their earthly lives, and those who did not.
For us who believe, Jesus will remove every source of evil, pain,
and suffering as He renews His creation and makes it perfect.
Then we will enjoy perfect health, perfect relationships, and a
perfect life forever.

How can we wait for that wonderful day? In today's reading
James tells us to establish our hearts. He means for us to
strengthen our hearts with the certainty of His coming just as
He promised. When our hearts are established the problems
of this life simply don't loom as large because we can clearly
see our God is bigger and stronger than anything we face.

How do you establish your heart? Gather for worship with
your church family. There you will be reminded of Christ's
promises. There your Baptism will be renewed as you confess
your sins and as the Holy Spirit reassures you through the
pastor that those sins are forgiven. There you will receive the
very body and blood that Jesus sacrificed for us on the cross.
And there the Spirit of God will establish your faith and keep
you until that final day. Then you will know a peace and
confidence as all your problems shrink back to their true size,
easily managed by our God and Savior.


Lord Jesus, You have promised to return to this world to make
all things right and perfect forever. Establish my heart in Your
promise so that none of the problems I face will shake my trust
and confidence in You. Amen.

(Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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