Dear Church Family and Community,
I love that before we have Christmas, we have Advent. We join with the worldwide Church, and the Church since the beginning, during this season of expectation, waiting, and celebration of Christ coming into the world. Praise God for Christ Jesus, our Immanuel – God with us. Advent reminds us that Christ has come, Christ comes today, and Christ will come again.
To celebrate Advent here at HBIC, we focus on four themes that Christ coming brings into our world: hope, peace, joy, and love. These words may be universal to our human experience, but Advent reminds us that they are only fully realized in Jesus our Savior. This year, we’re drawing from this hope, peace, joy, and love to show how Christ’s coming led, and still leads, to the Creation of God’s Kingdom.
Last Sunday, we entered into this season by focusing on hope. Special thanks to Pastor Esteban and his wonderful team of volunteers who helped us usher in Advent through their decoration of the sanctuary and around the building. In our services last Sunday, we sang songs of hope, gave thanks to God for the hope we find in Christ Jesus, and we learned more about Joseph, and Our God of Hope.
Joseph teaches us that hope in God is not wishful thinking (sorry Steelers and Eagles fans!). Joseph’s understanding of hope is trusting in God – for what He has done (fulfill His promises) and for what He will do (fulfill His promises to us). Though often forgotten in the Christmas story, in Joseph we see God’s detailed plan for bringing His Son into our world – his (and Mary’s) family tree, being in Nazareth, and even his union with Mary. God was very intentional about every aspect of Christ coming into our world. If you missed hearing this message, please be sure to check it out here on our website, or through our sermon podcast on Soundcloud, Google Play, iTunes, or Stitcher.
Today, we continued our Advent journey, by focusing on peace. We revisited Joseph and Mary taking baby Jesus to the Temple. There we met Simeon, a faithful follower of God who finds peace because of his hope in God. Simeon’s testimony teaches us about how God fulfills His promises, how the Spirit works in and through us, and how Jesus bring peace to us and through us, for our world.
In continuing to reflect on peace, take time to read Luke 2, but especially verses 22-35. As you read, pray and ask God to use you to be an instrument of peace in your everyday scenes. Ask the Spirit to help you surrender to God’s work in your life.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Hank (Luke 2:29-32)
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