As we come to the end of the year and begin to look forward to the next, we emphasize our need to grow in prayer in the new year. All of us have room to grow and need to grow in our relationship with the Lord through prayer. In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul shows us just how vital prayer is to our spiritual life.
It is fitting end to 2020 to come and receive a message of hope from God’s Word. Hope is what every one of us needs. This year has been a difficult and dark year. And the gospel and all of its implications, is good news; the good news we need not just this year, but every year. When the gospel is understood, received and delighted in, it produces hope in us. Hope that is strong, hope that is able to hold us up under the weight of affliction, hope that literally changes the way we live.
Christian joy is rooted in God’s gift of salvation through Christ Jesus and the future hope that goes along with it. We emphasize joy at advent because when Jesus was born, God was confirming his promise of salvation to all peoples. However, God’s promise of salvation will not be fulfilled until Christs second coming. Salvation is both already, but not yet. This week, we reflect on the nature of that completed work of salvation from book of the prophet Isaiah as we look to a day when all God's people will rejoice.
At the heart of Christmas is love. You can’t have Christmas in any meaningful way without love. Christmas is a season of love and generosity because God is loving and generous. Christmas is about God’s love in action. The celebration of the birth of Jesus, is about the goodness and love of God appearing, that is, being made manifest, tangible, seen, experienced so as to change our lives forever.