Merry Christmas! It has arrived, finally. For some of us, this is the most joyful time of the year. For others, this time is a reminder of the grief we carry. For all of us, this season is a symbol of our yearning.
For some advent traditions, Christmas Eve/Christmas Day involves the lighting of a fifth candle. Tradition often refers to this as the Christ candle ultimately celebrating the day that Jesus exchanged his throne for the dusty roads of Judea. So, as we celebrate and remember that fact this weekend, I want to challenge you to focus on TODAY and how it propels you into TOMORROW.
The coming of Jesus to earth is the arrival of hope. Just so we’re clear, your hope has arrived. It’s present with you, now. And, if you’re a follower of Jesus, hope is in you, now. This hope is one that promises us full life as Jesus promises it in John 10:10. This full life that we talk about at White Oak is just that: We’re on the path to full life in Jesus…
When we discover identity in Jesus (Romans 8:14-16)
When we are equipped to love (Ephesians 2:10)
When we are deployed for mission (Matthew 28:19-20)
But full life isn’t just about what we experience now on earth. It’s more than that. Full life is fully realized in heaven. Advent is ultimately the celebration of our heavenly hope. You and I are created to long for heaven. This isn’t our home. We are aliens and strangers in this world. We are created for more! This hope isn’t a bury-your-head-in-the-sand-and-hide-in-a-bunker-until-Jesus- comes-back sort of hope. Your yearning for heaven is a good thing! It’s good because it is an extension of your yearning for God! As soon as you put your faith in Jesus your hope was transformed into a heavenly hope. Heaven became your destination and joy. That is life to it’s fullest!
This weekend, as you celebrate and remember Jesus. Think about heaven. As much as you yearn for God’s power, peace, and presence to fill you THEN… ask him to fill you with that same yearning for Him NOW.
The early Christians yearned and waited for heaven… it was their hope! In the meantime, you and I should anticipate all that God wants to do in us and through us for the extension of the Gospel into the lives of those around us. Ask him to do that. Ask him to extend hope in and through you. Thank God that he loves us so much to give us an everlasting hope through his Son! Merry Christmas.
Peace and Hope to you,
Don’t forget to celebrate with us this Sunday, December 26, ONLINE ONLY. We will not have in-person services at any of our locations. This unique online event will stream live at 9:00 am and be on demand afterwards!
Lead Pastor, White Oak Christian Church