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The Greatest Christmas Gifts

Having observed the first Sunday of Advent, we are now firmly into the season. Advent is the antidote to Christmas, at least the way Christmas is mostly observed in our culture. We live in a land of more, better, quicker, prettier, and busier. No wonder we’re exhausted, physically, emotionally, and, often spiritually. As antidote, Advent invites us to slow down…to wait, to watch, to prepare, to be mindful, to be present. Is it hard work? You bet because it flies in the face of a season out of control, a season that tries to force us out of control.


But, if observed, Advent can give us the greatest of Christmas gifts. Yes, twice I have used the plural. Of course, the answer is Jesus! But, there is way more for us as expectant Advent Christians. The gifts given are: hope, love, joy, and peace. Imagine that. Imagine what our lives would look like if we came to experience those four gifts. Imagine the richness, imagine the purpose, imagine the hope, love, joy, and peace.


Last Sunday we talked about hope, how it is an unshakable belief that something will come to pass. We compared hope to the three “d’s” prevalent during this season; denial, despair, and dread. We only touched on the fourth “d,” disappointment. As we wait and watch, we reset, This reset leads to Hope.


This Sunday, we’ll move on to the second gift: Love. We’ll remind ourselves that mature love isn’t a feeling at all. Rather it is a guiding principle, an attitude, a way of being. Love begins with God, flows through Jesus, is delivered by the Holy Spirit, and overflows us into the world. But, there is also such a thing as tough love, which we’ll see in our text from Matthew 3:1-12. Additionally, we’ll observe Christ’s love poured out as we come to the Lord’s Table.


May your observance of Advent be marked by hope and love, with the anticipation of joy and peace.


See you Sunday.


Paul


PS—The Advent study continues at 9:15 in the Cook Room.

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