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This is truly a season of hope

Recently newscasters proclaimed the long-awaited news that both Pfizer and Moderna have developed and tested COVID-19 vaccines that are more than 95% effective.

That story led the newscasts several days in a row, it drove the stock market upward and was celebrated around the world. It should be. COVID-19 has infected almost 56 million people and resulted in 1.3 million deaths around the world.

It has closed businesses, places of worship and destroyed economies. It forced us to isolate ourselves leading to record levels of addiction and depression. We canceled weddings, vacations and holiday gatherings. It has impacted almost every facet of our lives.

Since March we’ve had no idea when things would get better. That’s why this is incredible news. We rejoice to know that there is a vaccine. Now excitement builds as we wait for the vaccine to come. You can already feel the difference. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope. You can think about the vacation you’d like to take and the people you want to get together with.

That’s the season of Advent that we’re in right now. For 4,000 years the children of God had struggled with sin. Often it seemed overwhelming. Job felt overwhelmed by the loss he experienced, and he didn’t understand it. David felt overwhelmed by his sinfulness when he was caught in adultery and murder. Moses felt overwhelmed trying to lead the Israelites. Each of them knew they couldn’t fix this on their own, and they cried out to God for deliverance, and God promised them a savior who would come to save them from their sins.

We feel just like them. Overwhelmed by what the Lord has asked us to do. Overwhelmed by our broken bodies and a broken world. Overwhelmed by our own sinfulness. That’s why the season of Advent is so spectacular, because the Savior of the world is coming. In just a few days we will celebrate Jesus’ coming into the world on that first Christmas. Just as he came about 2,000 years ago he comes to us today in word and sacrament to forgive our sins and give us abundant life. On the last day Jesus will come again in great glory and take us to our heavenly home where we will experience the fullness of that life in His presence.

During Advent we celebrate a God who comes to save His people, and that changes everything. Sagging spirits are lifted, lifeless limbs are reinvigorated and a darkened world is once again full of light.

Hope is never more apparent as the Savior of the world comes. We are very much the Virgin Mary who sang, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.” Luke 1:46-48

REV. MATTHEW SORENSON is the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He can be reached at pastor@stjohnsfarmville.org.