I’ve grown up going to church my entire life. Every year we light candles during the Advent season and hear the familiar story of our Savior’s birth. It’s a special time of year that draws me closer to our family and friends while being reminded of the ultimate gift of salvation that we receive starting with Jesus’ birth.
This year I found myself dwelling a bit more on how we acknowledge Jesus’ first coming at Christmas and how we prepare our hearts for His second coming through the Advent season.
Hope. To hope for something is to expectantly anticipate it. My only hope in this life and after death is that I will be saved for eternity because of Jesus’ sacrifice for me. “For in this hope, we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25.
Peace. True peace comes with the assurance from my hope in Jesus. Believing that Jesus died to save me so that I may spend eternity in heaven provides a peace that goes beyond anything I could ever find in this world. “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
Joy. With my hope secure and the peace of God within me, I can be joyful. This is probably the most difficult part for me. I struggle at times to remain joyful through busy or stressful times; however, when I am reminded of all that God has done for me and that my future lies with Him, joy takes over. “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” Psalms 16:11
Love. When I have an attitude of joy, it pours out into the lives of those around me. One of the most important things I can do while I wait for God’s second coming is to love other people and share the message of hope with them. “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
May you experience hope, peace, joy and love this Christmas season!
Melanie Smeenk, Executive Director