Christmas is a season of joy, selflessness, and community. It is a time when we collectively realize that Emmanuel is here to liberate and save us. These themes are most evident in the songs we sing this time of year, making our Christmas bonus playlist ripe with celebration, hope, calls for peace, and openness. Enjoy with family and friends, let it be a soundtrack of glad tidings this holiday season.
And the more we practice, the more we become a people who know in our bones that we are dearly loved and there is hope for transformation. God’s love empowers us to be the kind of people that creatively work for healing and restoration in the midst of darkness and who bear witness to a transcendent love and hope that can be experienced here and now – especially in the midst of competing kingdoms that often produce violence, hatred, and suffering.
To know you have enough is to be rich beyond measure. A Christian is one who does not need to consult his bank balance to see how wealthy he is. Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have. If you are not content today, there is nothing you can buy to change that. If you are not content today, there is no one who you can marry who can change that.
As we journey through this Advent season, please remember God is still working to make all things new. We are invited to join God in the mission of bringing the Kingdom to earth. Advent reminds us the story is not over- there is much joy to be found in that!
We sat in the room dumbfounded at the revelations that this man was sharing with us. Not abstract theories in non-violence, or love of neighbor, but real-time, gritty, action-oriented, tested practices of peacemaking.
I was a mess and still, I would speak from the heart. Even then, I knew God was with me. In moments like those, I would walk away strengthened. I was still hurting but could feel God working on my heart. I never knew beauty and purpose would come from those dark situations.
My naïve American pragmatism had no conceptual space to piece together this man’s story. And I thought I knew brokenness! Growing up in Los Angeles, interacting with homeless populations, poverty, single-parent homes, immersed in ministries directly working with gang members and drug addicts—none of it prepared me for those conversations I had in that sewer.
My hope has been rebuilt upon the redeeming work that God has done. His redeeming work includes my identity and him reminding me of who I truly am and whose I am. I now have a hope to be the man God calls me to be and do the things that God asks of me. This hope, which comes from love, leads me to obedience.
This Advent hope it not predicated on our wishful thinking or naivety. Advent hope is also not something abstract or distant. This hope is founded on the reality of Jesus: his life and work as seen in the first Advent, the promise of his second Advent, and the new reality that creates to furnish hope in our lives today. It is a hope that matters today and impacts today.
We are the people of Hope. We are men of Peace. We, who follow Jesus, embody Joy and live the way of Love. We are on a journey of becoming these kinds of men only because Christ has come and is still coming again. It's these two realities that shape us.