Friends through Christ Jesus:
Merry Christmas! I’m going to try my best to get you into the mood of the Holiday Season, because we sure as shootin need a little Christmas cheer, and right now, celebrating the birth of a new born Savior is just what the doctored ordered. A Messiah—serving as our prophet, priest and king! Merry Christmas!
A prophet showing us a glorious future, where you and I will experience things beyond our imagination and understanding. A prophet showing us that abundant life is within our grasp by simply trusting that God has given us all we need, and asking that in return we use our varied gifts taking care of our Creator’s handiwork.
A priest making the ultimate sacrifice on a Cross, to forgive the times we did not master the temptation striking at our heals. A priest teaching us through his life/death and resurrection that our life/death and resurrection have meaning and purpose. I count for something, because I am a child of the Most High and Living God.
A king who rules over all that is seen and unseen. A king whom we can always trust to protect and provide justice.
If the promise of Messiah doesn’t get you into the mood for the Christmas Season, then how about focusing upon the Advent Wreath and the wonderful promises associated with each candle, as we anticipate the Messiah’s arrival.
The first candle reminds us of the Hope Jesus offers—given to you freely through his life, death, and resurrection. Hope one cannot find anywhere else—a hope that will not disappoint.
Hope the virus gets under control
Hope the world can live relatively peaceful
Hope that my children will be safe and do well
Hope that my wife is happy and stays healthy
Hope that my health and mind allow me to be a pastor for a very long time.
Hope that I’m doing the right thing.
Hope that I will see my loved ones again when all is said and done.
Through this hope, which cannot disappoint, we are given what the second candle on the Advent wreath symbolizes and that is Peace. The dictionary defines peace as a state of quiet—untroubled by conflict, agitation, or commotion—free from oppressive thoughts or emotion. That’s what God’s hope gives to me—Peace.
With this hope in God’s promises, and a sense of Peace like a river flowing through me, I begin to experience what the third candle symbolizes and that is Joy—a gift that Christ Jesus offers to all of us and a gift that belongs in His church. The life Jesus lived was never meant to make anyone sad. It doesn’t say, in John 10:10 “I came so that you might have sadness.” It says, “I came so that you might have a life and have it abundantly.” Joy is a gift—a gift from God, climaxing with the birth of Jesus. From the Hebrew Scriptures to the Greek Revelation the Bible is all about God coming into our lives, and then us going out into the world like an angel bringing glad tidings of great Joy!
With this everlasting hope, a sense of peace that passes all understanding and a joyful existence, I finally begin to understand the meaning of the fourth candle, symbolizing Love. Here Webster struggles for meaning, just like we do. Humanity defines love as—affection based on admiration—a warm attachment—to like or desire—to take pleasure in—concern for others—attraction based on sexual desire—and my favorite—a score of 0 in tennis.
Yet, at the very end of Webster’s definitions, we finally find a Godly glimpse at what true Love and Love of God really means—“Unselfish concern that freely accepts another and seeks their good.” I like to say, biblical Love is working toward the benefit of another, just like God does for you and me.
Well, I hope I am succeeding at bringing a little Holiday Cheer to your day. Just think when times get difficult, you have a Messiah, a prophet, priest and king, offering you Christmas presents of hope, peace, joy and love. That my friends is just what the doctor ordered.
Pastor David Trexler