Dear Saints of God at Ebenezer,
This message for our December and January newsletter I am writing on a cold, wet and thoroughly disagreeable November 14th. But I am warmed and encouraged by the memory of the first three months of our time together as pastor and congregation, and by the excitement I feel anticipating our Advent and Christmas together.
Elsewhere in this newsletter you will see that our worship theme for December is “hopefulness.” The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 5 of the nature of Christian hope – “…hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into hearts through the Holy Spirit…”
Christian “hope” is NOT the way we think about something that may or may not happen (a new job, winning the lottery, the Tennessee Volunteers winning the national championship). Christian “hope” is what we do while we wait, patiently, for something God will certainly do.
It’s not easy and it doesn’t always seem helpful, but part of our Christian witness to a weary world is to hope with confidence for the things God will certainly do – an end to injustice, peace among nations, healing and wholeness for those who are broken.
Advent and Christmas are challenging times for people of faith, for it is our joyful responsibility to embody God’s vision, and to share a better story with a divided and discouraged world.
May the Holy Spirit fill you with courage and joy as you share HOPE in this season!
In the name of Immanuel – the God who is with us,