Philippians 1:3-11
   At first glance, the reason to include this text at Advent may not be apparent.  The key is Paul's reference to the "day of Jesus Christ" and the "day of Christ".  Advent is not just a time to remember Jesus' coming as an infant in Bethlehem but to determine if we are prepared for His second coming.  By placing ourselves in the lives of Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, and John the Baptist, we can imagine how unexpected Jesus' first appearance was to those living out their ordinary life.  Paul warns the Philippians that the day of Christ will be just as unexpected.  Until that time, Paul advises them to be blamelessly working toward the harvest.  This is a reference to Jesus accusation that the harvest was great but, despite the number of scribes and priests, the workers were few.

 

Philippians 1:6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.
   What is the good work that was begun in you?
   Who started that good work?  Who will bring it to completion?
   Do you have the power alone to bear the fruits of repentance?
   How do we assist the Holy Spirit's work within us?
   What does sanctifying grace mean to you?