While today's meditation focuses on the topic of the last judgment, and the punishments of the damned, it also brings to the forefront the reason we are anticipating the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. When everything was in perfect harmony in the Garden of Eden, and the relationships between God and man, person to person, man to nature and man within himself were in perfect balance, the concept of life and death really had no meaning. With the sin of Adam and Eve, the harmony and balance were destroyed, and they experienced the judgment of being put away from God. Christ's birth puts an end to that judgment, and provides us a way to find eternal life and blessing in once again being in the presence of God.
So take a look at your choice. When was the last time you said the words of the service and actually thought about what they mean? Do you mean them? Or are you saying them out of habit?
Look at your faith - is it something you've grown up with because your parents told you it was the right thing to do, or have you actively thought about and chosen your faith? Do you actually believe, or is it a habit you got into long ago?
As a child, my father taught us that if all we were going to do is say the words of the service and not actually think about them, we should leave, so that we did not show such disrespect to God. And this was an every single time we went to service choice. When is the last time you actually made the choice, and chose to believe as you went through the service? Try it - and see if you don't feel differently about being there.
Honor Christ's birth and presence here, not only with your actions, but in your words - for they are powerful tools.
Something Fun for Advent
Read the Christmas story in Luke in the Bible. Watch The Nativity Story. Go and visit a live nativity in your town.