We sing a hymn during Advent titled “Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates.” In one of the Scripture readings during Advent, from the gospels, we hear Jesus our Lord say: “Lift up your heads.”
This is good advice. We need to hear this especially now. With all of the distressing news in the world each day, it is easy for us to walk through life with our heads down. We seem to be living in a “crisis culture.” The constant news cycle frames our world in terms of crises, catastrophes, and dangers. There is an ever-growing prayer list. Social media is like a competition of who can express support and sympathy first or most timely. The opposition that Christians feel in the world increases your anxiety and fear.
But the season of Advent has comfort to give. In Luke 21:25-36, Jesus predicts the terrors that will come upon people living in the last days, as wars and rumors of war increase. He speaks of “men’s hearts failing them for fear.” Sounds like us! However, Jesus then says that when these things happen, “look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near.” He says to lift up your head, because these are signs that Jesus, your Savior, is coming soon and that He is near! You have nothing to fear when He is near. The hymn we sing says, “Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates! Behold, the King of Glory waits; the King of kings is drawing near, the Savior of the world is here!” (Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary 91)
This is also why we find ourselves preparing for Christmas. The hidden message of Christmas is that God cares about His world. He does not forsake or forget anybody. He sent His Son into the world to redeem every person from sin, from death, and from the power of the devil. He knows that it looks bleak in the world of sin. So He sent Jesus, the Light of the world. Lift up your heads to look at Him, on the cross, in the cradle, and in His Word. There is comfort and safety for you with Him.
Come join us at Bethany Lutheran Church in Princeton, Minnesota, to take refuge in this message!