Our church had our Christmas service yesterday and in the service celebrated Advent by talking through the points of HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE. I’d like to share with you a piece of each.
Advent is a word that means “coming” or “visit”. In the Christian season of Advent, we prepare for the “advent” of Christ at Christmas. This morning, we continue to light the advent candles as we move towards Christmas and the birth of Christ, Holy God made flesh.
Often times, when the whole world seems to be against us, hope can appear to be really dim. It is at these times that we often feel helpless and depressed. Yet, we forget that even IF the whole world is against us (which often isn’t the case), God is still there for us. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us, and will always be there for us no matter how bad we may have messed up. We always have God given hope.
Ephesians 4:4 NLT
For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
Matthew 12:21 NLT
And his name will be the hope of all the world.
The peace of Christ is an internal peace. It does not depend on your circumstances. You could be living in poverty, but still could experience peace. You could be living in war-torn Iraq, but still could experience peace. You may be persecuted, but still could be a bearer of peace. You may be hated for your nationality, color or personality, but sill could experience the internal serenity of Christ. The world cannot bring this peace to you. Troops cannot protect this peace. It is a peace, offered to those who are meek, humble and pure in heart. It is a peace offered to those who have an original innocence in them.
Colossians 3:15 NLT
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
The biblical view of peace helps draw us near to God. It enables us to trust him in the midst of a world so filled with brokenness and strife. It also motivates us to be peacemakers, even when our notions of peace and our approaches to peacemaking seem naive to a jaded, worn out world. Finally, the biblical picture of peace yet to come binds us together with other Christians in a fellowship of hope.
Colossians 1:11 NLT
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,
The Bible tells us that it is because God loved the world so much that Jesus came. The angel tells Joseph that the baby to be born will be called "Emmanuel", "God with us." Because God loves us and came into the world to be with us, we must love and care for others. Jesus came to show us how to live that love.
John 3:16 NLT
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Psalm 36:7 NLT
How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.
Romans 13:10 NLT
Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
Pray for those who are alone and struggling this Christmas. How can we serve them?