“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulders: and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Beginning this Sunday morning, we will light the candle that represents Hope. Jesus Christ is our hope. The apostle Paul explains that Hope abounds in those who put their faith in Jesus,
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Not only does Jesus provide us with hope as one of the abiding qualities of our faith, but He also give us Love, Peace and Joy which represent the other qualities we recognize during the season of Advent. The white candle in the middle of the Advent wreath stands for Christ, which represents the center of what the Christmas season is all about. Jesus Christ is the light of the world that dispels the darkness of sin providing forgiveness and redemption to all who believe in Him,
“In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:4-5)
When Robbie and I visited Israel a few years ago, we bought nativity displays for all of our children. We also bought one for ourselves, which we place in our home at Christmas time. Each one is made of olive wood which came from olive trees grown in the Holy Land. They are unique in that way and each one is identical accept for one difference. The ones we bought for our children are carved by machine. The one Robbie and I have is carved by hand. The differences between them is slight. When you pick up the pieces, you must look very closely to see any differences at all. The most significant difference between the machine carved displays and the one that is hand carved was the price. The one that Robbie and I bought for our home, the one that is hand carved was significantly more expensive. It took more time to carve it by hand. It took more experience and more expertise to create it. The one that Robbie and I have is a work of art. The ones our children have, while beautiful and very similar are what you might call “Knock-Off’s.” They are copies of the original.
Christmas time for many people today is like those “Knock-Off” nativity scenes. It is commercialism gone crazy. Christmas can be more about nostalgia and sentimental feelings than about what God really did and the price that was paid to send Jesus to this sinful world. If you don’t believe me, just watch one of the Christmas movies on the Hall Mark channel this month. Hope is not about how you feel or which boyfriend you wind up with under the mistletoe. Hope is about what happened in a manger. Hope springs from the fact that
“…God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world unto Himself.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
Hope flows from the message spoken by angels to shepherds,
“For unto us is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
Today, is HOPE SUNDAY at Grace. We worship today as the people of God filled with the Hope that Jesus Christ brought into this world by His birth. Let the Hope of Jesus Christ fill you, surround you and encourage you today.