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Pastor Kent Johnson

Johnson

When winter storms are expected to blanket our area with snow, it is wise to take precautions for challenging weather conditions. On cold and snowy days, the last thing travelers want or need is an unexpected mechanical failure. Winter car care checklists are often very helpful. Likewise, simple reminders to pay attention to the lights on the dashboard is the most basic wisdom we can give to our loved ones. Sometimes referred to as “idiot lights” for the mechanically illiterate, lights that indicate a low gas level, tire pressure or especially a need to “service engine soon” should be heeded with the greatest urgency. Taking a few minutes to skim through an owner’s manual or practicing changing a tire in the safety of your garage may prove to be time well spent.

Paradoxically, many of us who know how to drive know very little about how to fix an engine or even change a tire. We learn to trust warning lights, and odometer readings to avoid delays and accidents. We also find a trusted mechanic who has the knowledge, skill and tools to keep our vehicle operating smoothly. I am grateful for my mechanic who inspects my car engine and notices worn brakes or cracked belts. I am equally appreciative when a stranger notices my tire looks low, a light is out, or that something is leaking under my car, and takes time to bring this to my attention.

There are similar truths that apply to the adventure of life. Jesus teaches his listeners the importance of being alert at all times. Jesus, noticing how human hearts can easily be weighed down by sin that expresses itself in the worries of this life, excessive partying, or the squandering of money and resources, warned those He loves (you and me) to guard our hearts at all times. (See Luke 21:34-36) There is wisdom in taking time to hear, and heed, what Jesus says.

In between the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, faith communities structure their worship life in ways that allow time to notice what is going on around them. This practice is built on a sense of anticipation and expectation that God is doing something new. This “in between time” is known as the season of Advent, a time to be reminded that God enters into our world and lives in often surprising and unexpected ways. This is a the time to live with hope that God’s redeeming grace will dawn upon us.

So wherever your journey of life leads you this holiday season, don’t “fall asleep at the wheel of life.” Stay alert at all times, for God’s grace does happen!

Stir up your power, Lord Christ and come. By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice. This we pray in the strong and gentle name of Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

There is wisdom in taking time to hear, and heed, what Jesus says.

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Rev. Kent D. Johnson is pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, La Crescent.

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