Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1: 7b).
Before we are through celebrating Thanksgiving we are preparing for Black Friday and couple days following, we begin the observance of the Advent season. The Christian communities during the Advent season focus on “the reason for the season” – Jesus Christ. Advent reminds us that God loves us, interested in our personal struggles, and keeps His promise to save us.
I encourage you to be very prayerful and earnest as we at WHBC observe this Advent season, which begins this Sunday and goes up to the Sunday before Christmas. We will observe Advent with a wreath with 5 candles that represent 1) Hope; 2) Peace; 3) Love; 4) Joy; and 5) Jesus, which will be lit each Sunday.
We praise God for the Incarnation, which is the embodiment of God the Son in human flesh as Jesus Christ. John puts it this way: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14. Jesus took on a human body and human nature to experience humanity in all his/her lived-experience, so it became necessary for God to become man that He might be able to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:26). The Good News is that, Jesus came to us in human body to share the lived-experience of humanity, and to save us (Luke 17:11-13).
I charge you on one hand to acknowledge that the world is full of pain and suffering, hardships and turmoil, disappointment and regrets, and on the other hand be comforted by the fact that the Gospel is good news for everyone. The Advent message is that the mission of Jesus is Salvation – deliverance, healing of broken hearts, and supplying of needs. The Gospels of Jesus teach that he [Jesus] is the embodiment of hope, joy, peace and love, and there is something special about hope among the people of God. Without hope we have no power to walk in love; no power to keep going on and not give up; no power to hold fast to the way of righteousness; and no power to hold ourselves to resist some brief unsatisfying pleasure.
This time of the year is hectic and busy with activities for most of us, including work, volunteer projects, church, family, and friends. There is also the pressure to find the perfect gifts for everyone on our ever-expanding lists on a rather limited budget. Rather than spending your time stressing about what is unavailable, unaffordable, and unappreciated, let this Advent season be for you personally a time of reflection, daily bible reading, and ceaseless praying. Let us allow our observance of the Advent season to prepare us for a joyous celebration of Christmas, the second coming of Jesus, and to remember how Jesus comes to us in our daily lives. Let us join the voices of generations of saints past and present in the refrain, O come, O come Emmanuel!
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Peter E. Grinion, Pastor