I know that some of my Methodist friends think I left the reservation, hanging around, as I do, with Lutheran, Reformed, Catholic and Orthodox and co-workers. So, to fulfill all righteousness, let me point out how Wesleyan the epistle reading for today is:
And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)
We begin advent, not by preparing to celebrate Christmas, but by preparing to receive the Lord at his parousia. When he comes, the Lord will be looking for holiness of heart, love for the brethren and love for the people of the world. Holiness is capable of being strengthened, and love can increase. In other words, these are real qualities of life that can grow stronger or weaker. May the Lord increase them in all who bear his name.
Next Week: A Still More Wesleyan Advent