As you look back on the year, it's hard not to be just a little bit afraid of 2023. I mean not only do we have covid to strike fear into our hearts, but we have the war in Ukraine, and the out of control world wide burning of fossil fuels. Not only do we have inflation but we have a rise in interest rates, which threatens the financial prospects for a growing number of Canadians. Not only that, but we have the failure of the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference last month to come to any meaningful about how we will reverse or even slow world climate change.
And closer to home, the working people in the Bow Valley face a pretty bleak time with both food and accommodation costs rising. God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah said to the people of Israel says:
Do not be afraid — I am with you!
I am your God — let nothing terrify you!
I will make you strong and help you;
I will protect you and save you. Isaiah 40:10
It was a message for the people of God long ago, but also for us today. When things are looking bleak, choose God; choose to worship and adore Him, choose to celebrate. Yes, celebrate! Because God sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. He sent him to be the Prince of Peace, to bring God’s Shalom to the world and to individuals. He came to die so that you might have life. So, in the face of doom and gloom, of a very real danger, you and I might have hope. That’s what I call, Advent Gifts for you and I to give.
When we gather in our Churches we are in a transformational space. A space where the presence of the Holy Spirit becomes real, because you are surrounded by others who have the same Holy Spirit at work in them. Each one is empowered to minister and to bring words of wisdom to those around them.
That's also why, if you have a neighbour or a friend who is hurting in some way, invite them to church. That they can stand in the presence of God; because where two or three are gathered together Jesus has promised to be in their midst. You can help them to find what they are looking for, food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, peace for the worriers, hope for those who can see no way forward.
Best Advent Wishes,