As lead pastors for seventeen years, Jim and I enjoyed celebrating Advent in our church every Christmas. We opened each of the four Sunday services leading up to Christmas with an Advent devotion and the lighting of a candle. Our Advent celebration culminated with our Christmas Eve service when we lit the Christ candle. Those memories are sweet and meaningful to us.
The traditional Advent celebration holds rich meaning for us today and offers us a quiet way to reflect during a very busy, sometimes hectic holiday season. Let’s take some time to consider these powerful truths:
HOPE. We all need hope. Every. Single. One of us. As believers, we wisely place our hope in Him. Romans 15:13 (ESV) encourages us, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Many around us have misplaced their hope in things and people who cannot save them. Some have no hope at all. May we offer them our hope—Christ our King.
PEACE. Christ is our peace. He is more than the peace we experience when there is no conflict, strife, suffering, or worry. That type of peace is a natural peace and a bi-product of ease. His peace is so much greater than that! His peace is supernatural and will carry us through the worst of storms, trials, and sufferings. In John 14:27 (ESV), Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Step into His priceless peace this season.
LOVE. God loves beyond any human measure of love. Human love is a God-given gift, but it can fail us. Psalm 136 (CEV) repeats the phrase, “God’s love never fails,” twenty-six times! He wants to assure us that His love will never, ever fail. Our broken and dying world needs the beautiful message that God, who loves each one beyond measure, will never fail them. Let His love flow through you to everyone you encounter this Christmas.
JOY. Joy can feel elusive and difficult to define, but we certainly know when it is missing from our lives. Like Christ’s peace, we do not walk in joy because we are free of difficulties, pain, or even grief. Jesus offers us joy as a way of living life. We choose to step into it as a way of thinking, believing, and living. It is a by-product of faith in God and continual thankfulness at all times. A joy-filled life shines so brightly in this dark world! May God lead you into greater joy this Christmas season.
May you know Him in a fresh way, dear friend. May He be your hope, peace, love, and joy throughout all your Christmas celebrations and ever after.
National Women’s Ministries Director