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Be encouraged that Jesus gives hope to the hopeless and to the hopeful through what he offers: peace, joy and love
Pastor Stephen Vessey
Special to The Guardian
With all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season behind and a vision for the New Year, I will encourage you to not loose sight on what is really important. Call it your 2020 vision, if you will.
For many, this time of year is refreshing and offers a variety of outdoor activities that many have spent months anticipating. For others, this time of year offers almost a sense of hopelessness and isolation as it is harder to get out and do the things they enjoy, not to mention travel and mobility can be limited due to the weather. And there are many who fit somewhere in between.
Regardless where you fit in this scale, I want to encourage you that by looking back at the advent wreath we can look forward to a year filled with blessings.
When we look at the advent wreath, we see four candles surrounding the Christ candle. They are the candles of hope, peace, joy and love. Each one of these are offered to us, not only at Christmas but all year long. They are offered through Jesus, whose birth we recognized and celebrated only a few days ago. When we look at the candle of hope we are reminded that through Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension we are given hope. When we look to the candle of peace, we are reminded that peace comes from Jesus, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV)
When we look to the candles of joy and love, we are reminded that Jesus gives us joy and that he is the example of love, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
(John 15:9-12 NIV)
As you look to this new year, 2020, be encouraged that Jesus gives hope to the hopeless and to the hopeful through what he offers: peace, joy and love. FThose who receive Jesus as saviour, they are blessed with a peace that come from knowing what we are promised, a life eternal, to those who surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. We receive joy in knowing that God sent his son, our saviour, to be born and given the name Immanuel because he will save God’s people from their sin. This is a love that is unimaginable and surpasses all words yet we are reassured in the words of Jesus recorded by the apostle John, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)
Regardless if you are a outdoor winter fanatic or if the winter finds you feeling isolated and more alone, if you are searching for a New Year that is filled with hope, peace, joy and love, then I will encourage you to turn to and trust in Jesus. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NIV)
Pastor Stephen Vessey is a minister with Montague Church of Christ in Montague. A guest sermon runs regularly in Saturday’s Guardian and is provided through Christian Communications.