We have come to the beginning of November and that, of course, means that Christmas is right around the corner. And every year, about two months before Christmas, in the first week of November - right around the time when all the decorating and the shopping for gifts begins - we celebrate All Saints’ Day. And it’s really the perfect beginning to the Christmas season because today we see that Jesus is the ultimate gift who keeps on giving. Christ has given of Himself to all His Saints in ages past – and He continues to give of Himself to us today.
On Christmas we receive into the world and into our hearts the greatest gift of all: Jesus Christ. The saints are simply those who have received this gift, cherished it and shared it with others.
So what does this gift of look like in our lives when we receive it in faith? St. Paul sums it up in our first reading from Ephesians when he encourages us to live to the praise of God’s glory.
That’s what it means to be a saint. The saints are those who live to the praise of God’s glory. God’s glory is the powerful reality of His presence with us as our ruler and guide, our comforter and strengthener, the giver of all good gifts. To glorify or praise this glory is to give it the approval and recognition it deserves.
How do you do that? First, by knowing. Know the hope to which God has called you, the riches of your glorious inheritance among the saints. Know in your hearts that God in Christ will bring about a new heaven and new earth at the resurrection in the last day – the gift of a new creation. Know this. Set your hope on it. Live in anticipation of it.
And with that, access, draw from the immeasurable greatness of His power for us who believe. In this passage Paul says something absolutely astounding; and that is that the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead – the very same power that will one day bring about a new creation – this power is accessible to each and every one of you on a daily basis. It’s readily available to all who call upon it.
So friends, do that. Call upon this power in prayer. It’s already present with you by the Holy Spirit and it’s what will make you a saint. It’s what will allow you to endure suffering for Christ’s sake and to shine as His lights in the world. For we are all called to sainthood. Now that may seem daunting, but it’s meant to be inspiring. Because the power it requires is not something we have to cook up ourselves – it is given to us freely as a gift from God the Father, through Christ and by work of His Spirit within us. We need only receive this gift and be inspired to use it to the praise of God’s glory.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.