December SPIRE 2014:

He Offers Peace to Everyone
I find my defenses up during advent. I try to minimize the strong front that retailers and advertisers push towards me. It’s their job to sell products, many of which I would have a desire for! But it’s my job to celebrate and remember the gift of grace that we share in Jesus. The busyness of the month of December can easily overwhelm. Do you remember our work together last Advent?

We tried to spend less, give more, worship fully and love all. We’ll be reminded of those four thoughts again during our special Advent readings during Sunday worship. And again we’ll have the opportunity to share a special “spend less” offering on Christmas Eve. (Services at 5:00 & 6:30 pm!)

Our focus this Advent is solely on HOPE, however. I find that when I’m hopeful towards the things of God, I’m usually in a better place of peacefulness. On the contrary, when I’m bound by fears of the world, peace eludes me.

Think of those shepherds, who had heard the stories of a coming Messiah for generations. And the angel of the Lord broke the news to and through them!

Recall this passage from Luke 2:8-14 NIV:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

“On earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

God’s favor. Resting upon us. And as we share in his rest, we find peace. Because God gives it to us.

I know we have pains, doubts and fears. They are real and complicated. Yet, hope in the peace of Christ may be thefuelweneedtoendure,overcome,orperhapsevensurvive. Hopeisn’tsimplyanicethought,butisaremind- er of being securely wrapped, covered and protected by God’s forgiveness and grace.

Merry Christmas, I love you all, Pastor Aaron