Be sure to join us tonight for an Advent Conversation in the Fellowship Hall. A family friendly light meal will be served beginning at 5:15 with a teaching time from 6:00 to 7:00. Please feel free to arrive at a time that works best for you and your family Advent activities for children will be available during the teaching time. We are just one week away from Christmas as we read one of the most heart wrenching passages in the entire Bible. It is the betrayal and the arrest of Jesus. I guess it really is true that we can never really arrive at the joy of Christ without experiencing the pain of betrayal and the sting of denial. As I read this passage, I find myself holding my breath in hope that it is really not true. How could one disciple sell him out while another disciple denies that he ever knew the Master? I think I hold my breath because it is so easy to see my own reflection in the eye of Jesus as he looks to Judas. At the same time, I discover the words of Peter flowing from my own heart, tongue, and life. How could that be? Why does that happen? How do we resolve the pain? We wait. We abide. We reflect. We confess. We connect. We deepen our relationship with the one who was and is the Son of God. How do we do that? We develop relationships. We engage the Word. We renew our commitments. We make choices to live our lives in a way that will honor the sacrifice that was made on our behalf. Simply said, we say yes, yes, and yes again. I hope you can find a quiet place today where you can reflect a bit. Maybe you can find a location where Christmas decorations have not yet arrived. Then, take a moment to breathe deep. Remember that the very air we breathe is a gift of grace. Christmas is always a gift!
After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” 5They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. 7Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”