Joy and Hope in the Advent Season
Romans 15:4-13

Christmas is coming! Can you feel it? Decorations are appearing on and in homes everywhere. Stores are getting harder to move around because of all the people out shopping, it’s a busy, yet wonderful time of year. And it even looks like we may even have ourselves a white Christmas this year! It seems like everyone is just a little more into the Christmas spirit this year. I think it’s because of the snow, it makes the nights and lights seem so much brighter, helping us in the anticipation of Christmas.

This is what I like about the reading from Romans. It fills us with hope, and reminds us of what is said in the old testament pertaining to the coming birth of Jesus. And in his birth, we sing many, many glorious songs of anticipation and celebration the the event. I love Advent, this time of eager waiting for Christ’s birth, and all the beautiful carols we sing. Our house is now on full Christmas song rotation, CD after CD of Christmas music as the kids dance and sing along around the tree.

That is the beauty of Christmas, the time of year when it seems like the whole world is celebrating the day, even if it is in ways we might not really view as honouring Jesus. But even still, it’s the excitement, the anticipation, the time spent with family and friends, visitors and phone calls from near and far all wishing us a “Merry Christmas!”

It’s good to hear isn’t it? It’s lovely to see the lights and colours, the blanket of snow with footprints passing by, and the music that no one can resist. It really is like the song says “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Of course for some people it may not be so great. They may be away from family, or not have family to be with. Some may be in hospital or some other care facility feeling quite alone. There lies the challenge in Christmas. For those who are hurting this time of year, can we be there with them, just as Jesus is here with us? Can we share some of our Christmas spirit by offering friendship and a listening ear? Jesus came for us all, maybe we can share some of what Jesus gave to us, with those who do not feel as joyful as we all do.

Christmas is a time of sharing, of showing Christ’s love to all. Paul wrote to the Romans in celebration of what Jesus has offered. What Jesus meant to him, and the many, many lives he touched and continues to touch. That is my Christmas wish to you… may Jesus touch your lives this season as we come to be part of his birth through the Christmas music and stories we hear.

I’ll close with the words from Paul at the end of our reading today… “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”