We are nearly one week into the Advent season. Millions of Christians all around the world use the Advent season to help focus their hearts on the importance and meaning of the Christmas season. The word “Advent” means arrival or beginning. When the angels delivered their earth-shaking message to the shepherds in Luke 2 that Jesus was being born, they shared the Gospel (the good news) of a new and glorious advent. God was coming to earth!
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” -Luke 2:8-14
A “gospel” proclamation is one that announces a life-altering change. When Caesar Augustus became emperor of Rome, heralds traveled the empire from city to city announcing the new leader of the greatest empire the world had ever known up to that point. Hundreds of years before that, Greek legend states that a messenger ran from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Greeks had defeated the Persian army! Life-altering news!
The first week of Advent focuses our attention on the word, hope. The advent of Jesus on earth brings great hope. As followers of Jesus, we have hope that our sins have been paid for. We have hope that God works all things for the good of those who love him. We have hope that everyone is redeemable. We have the hope of eternity in heaven. Those are things worth celebrating this season and singing about! However, how do you and I exhibit hope day-to-day? A life-altering announcement of hope certainly can’t be contained in a song, a greeting card, a sign from Hobby Lobby, or in one particular season.
My question and challenge for us this week is this: How are you a living hope shining like a city on a hill for others to see? Because the Holy Spirit lives in you, you and I should be exuding hope through our lives. This doesn’t mean that we plaster on fake smiles when we’re hurting or that we don’t grief when we’re in pain. Exuding and announcing hope with your life must be something we trust God to do through us. Hope cannot be something in the future. Hope for a Christian must not be something we say we have as we look to some unknown point in eternity. Instead, hope must resonate through and from you and me. If the proclamation of hope has changed our lives, then…
My salvation leads me to exhibit a kind, gentle, patient, forgiving attitude toward others.
God working all things for my good leads me to talk and share about my hurts with others in a way that shows trust and faith in the midst of suffering and doubt.
God’s grace leads me to proclaim that everyone (yes, everyone) is loved like a son and daughter of our good Dad in Heaven and I think about and treat others through that lens.
Hope gives me an eternal perspective that should ooze from my thought-life, my actions, my career, my relationships, and the way that I use the resources God has given me to steward.
The Advent of Jesus’s arrival didn’t change the world in the future (though, it did that, too). Jesus’s arrival changed everything now!
How are you recognizing and celebrating that this season? How are you exhibiting that?
We have many things to celebrate at White Oak this season. We are celebrating the starting line of our Shaken commitment season on December 4. This is Celebration Sunday! This will also be our first Big Give for the Shaken initiative. We invite you to bring your first and best gift of generosity this coming Sunday to kick off this two-year journey of fulfilling our commitments. Don’t miss this time to see what God has been doing and anticipating what he will do in and through us!
White Oak Christian Church