Titus 2:11–14 (NRSV)
Verse 11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, Verse 12training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, Verse 13while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Verse 14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
In the several brief verses of today’s reading we might imagine that we are hearing the outline for a Christmas message. However, this “sermon” has not three, but only two main parts. In the first verse we hear the simple and direct announcement of the good news that we celebrate at Christmas: God’s grace has appeared in the coming of Jesus, who has come to bring salvation for all people.
But if the sermon ended there, we might fittingly be left with the question, “So what? What will this salvation look like?” To that the preacher replies, “Jesus Christ has come to prepare for himself a people who are zealous for doing good deeds.”
The invitation to celebrate the birth of Jesus has a purpose; it wants to change our lives for the sake of the world around us. God’s good news of the coming of Jesus, which we celebrate in this season, has our neighbors in mind. How will that celebration change the kind of good works that you and I do tomorrow for the sake of God’s world?
O God my salvation, I give thanks that you have sent your Son in order to redeem my life from the power of sin and evil; now transform my life that I may be empowered to act in ways of justice and mercy for the sake of my neighbor. Amen.