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  • Writer's pictureWayne Shelton

The Story of Christmas Hope - Our Need



Genesis 6:5-8


This Sunday, Advent begins!


Advent is a season of waiting and hoping. Psalm 62:5 captures the spirit of Advent perfectly: “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.” Even the mention of silence is an Advent sort of theme. Highlighting the uniqueness of Advent, one writer contrasted the seasons of Advent and Christmas. He notes, ‘Whereas Christmas celebrations can be happily loud as we belt out “Joy to the World” and or the “Hallelujah Chorus,” Advent invites us into a time of quiet reflection.’


‘Have you ever paused to think of how strange this is?’ asked this writer. That we Christians celebrate the beginning of a new church year with a season of waiting. It is odd. Isn't it? Noting this oddness, the writer then stated, ‘We're used to people celebrating a new year with celebrations and plans of all that we will do, but we Christians start our new year with a quiet waiting for what Someone Else will do.’


Who is that Someone else? That Someone Else is Jesus. Advent is the season at the beginning of our church year where we stop, look around, and remind ourselves that this world is not finished. It is missing something. It's missing Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.


Thus, Advent is a season where we train our hearts again to long for something more. We practice imagining a world that can and will be made new. And in that, we cultivate something revolutionary - hope. (You can find some helpful resources for Advent at  Habits of Purpose in an Age of Distraction.)


WHY ADVENT? you ask? Advent is the season when the church celebrates the King who has come and waits for the King who is coming again.


Thus, Advent is about the coming of Christ.  He came in the past at Christmas.  He will come again in His second coming.  But He comes to us here and now in the Sacraments and in the Word of the Gospel, the good news “of the undeserved grace of God” in Christ, through whose life, death, and resurrection, God “is favorably disposed to us.”  So, what is Advent about? As another writer notes poignantly, ‘Advent is about sharing this good news – of hope - to others and about our own “watching and waiting” for the work of God in our lives.’


Join us during Advent this year as we glory in the Christmas story of hope! This first Sunday of Advent we will think about the need that birthed the Christmas story as we go back to the roots of Christmas as seen in the flood account of Genesis 6. It is here that we learn of the heart that birthed the Christmas story. Hope to see you.

 

‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’,


Pastor Wayne

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