It is December 23 and it is cold, icy, and scary. Good news, we have two extra minutes of daylight! Not so good news, most all the flights out of Seattle were canceled until noon today (or later) due to ice. Because of the ever-changing inclement weather, stores are opening at different times, and deliveries are late or canceled. What am I going to do? My gifts may not arrive before Christmas. A friend shared the sad news of a friend who took his life yesterday. Another friend shared that someone came during the day yesterday and took all their delivered gifts from their porch. I think that I will make another attempt to go outside in June!
December raises all kinds of emotions in us. Joy for some and a struggle for others. One of the things I most look forward to is a special time to worship and be with family. Since becoming a believer, Christmas has had a new significant meaning! One of the things I am not crazy about is how commercial Christmas has become. I’m not Scrooge; I don’t think giving gifts is bad. I am not very good at it like others. I am not crazy about going out into the crowds or spending hours searching the internet. Christmas is about Jesus! The message of Christmas is that Jesus has come into our world. The best gift is the WORD of God, an amazing, astounding Gift from the Lord!
What does it mean to hope in today’s world? He is the incarnation of our faith, the basis for our eternal life. When we place our hope in the Lord, we do not have to live with vague “maybes.” Rather, we have absolutes. We “hope” for what we know according to His Word. Our hope is our belief that one day our salvation will be — final and complete — when we are in heaven or He returns for us.
When times were darkest, when life was hitting rock bottom, the prophets of the OT would urge the people never to lose hope because one day, THE KING would come. The people of God, like sheep in the fields, would be well fed, and all their enemies would be driven away, and they would live in safety and peace. The angel Gabriel came to Mary during a time of darkness and oppression, and during this time, he gave hope. The day is now, the day of God’s coming to you is now. And just like in the days of Moses, the very presence of God would overshadow the tent of meeting where Moses would meet with God, so God’s presence is going to overshadow you in such a way that you give birth.
By bringing miracle life to a young virgin girl, the Lord is a great statement of hope, love, and grace. Because no matter what our limitations are, no matter how destructive the world around us, God has the power to create something new, bring something good, and shed his light in those dark places of our lives. The Lord has awesome, amazing, astounding gifts for us.
The Gift of God’s WORD. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The Gift of His LOVE. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
The Gift of HOPE. 1 Timothy 1:1, “This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope.”
The Gift of LIFE. John 11:25-27, “Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? Yes, Lord,” she told him, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
The Gift of FORGIVENESS. Psalm 32:4-5, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
The Gift of GRACE. Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Looking forward to Christmas Sunday TOGETHER!