Hope was in the air. Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday sales were popping. I was enticed by especially steep discounts to venture out last night to land a prized Christmas gift. Initially I was going to buy the gift on-line, but for some reason, the retailer's website said I had to purchase the gift in the store. I called in advance to verify the gift was in the store. I was told that there was one remaining and it would be waiting for me at guest services. My hopes were dashed when I arrived and was told the item I wanted to purchase wasn't there. In fact, they don't even sell it in the store! I was told this is one way they motivate shoppers to come into the store. Bummer!
While the commercialization of Christmas can be disappointing, the message of Christmas is still the motivation for the season. This morning I read the motivation story of a young pastor named Eric So. He and his wife left their careers a few years ago and entered into the mission field. Pastor So moved into a run-down apartment complex in Maryland to serve a diverse group of refugees who had fled their homelands to experience the hope of living in America. While the topic of refugees is politically sensitive, Pastor So felt called by God to serve "these strangers in a foreign land."
"I think probably the most compelling reason we chose to move into the neighborhood was really the story of Jesus, Pastor Eric So said. From the Scriptures I see God sending his son, Jesus, into the world so that he would dwell among the people."
While earthly gifts are pleasing, their acquisition can be disappointing. The gift of God dwelling among us is transformative and leads us into our mission field to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. -John 1: 14.
May the full grace and truth of Jesus Christ fill your Advent with hope.
Prayer for Today
Through your Holy Spirit, fill us with hope, dear Lord. Transform our lives through the gift of your gospel so that we shall be light in the world's darkness. Amen.