I have many directions I'd like to go this morning. Today marks the start of a new church year. It is the first Sunday of Advent. It is the Sunday following our Thanksgiving Day celebrations. We begin this new year and note another Advent; but instead of the story of the birth of Jesus, we get Jesus giving a description of chaos and violence and warning. The heart of the message is to be ready, but it doesn't feel much like an invitation to celebrate the coming of Jesus as a baby. Thanksgiving Day, now there is a good place to focus our attention. So, I thought, maybe I can find a Thanksgiving message in the epistle. But Romans another message to be ready with these ideas smack dab in the middle of our passage: reveling and drunkenness, debauchery and licentiousness, quarreling and jealousy. Now Paul is not encouraging these actions, but pointing out that these things ought not be in the life of a Christian.
Nothing of Christmas, nothing of thanksgiving, nothing particular encouraging in these readings. So I'm gonna say that it is important to be ready and to avoid those pitfalls. And I'm going to tell you that one of the best ways to be ready is to live a life of giving thanks; and a life of thankfulness will help us grow in our faith.