May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Roman 15:13.
Someone said, “There is little distance between hope and desperation, yet the space between them makes all the difference in the world.” It is so true, isn’t it? Waiting is the most difficult thing to do when we long for an answer, a solution. It is so unfortunate that we sometimes do weird things while we are waiting, and it increases our anxiety and our frustration. We want to see the fulfillment of our expectation so badly. Our flame of hope gradually dies out. Since we see nothing, we eventually enter into the fear of the unknown.
My family and I have experienced a very challenging year. Both my parents were in and out of hospital many times. In a very short period, we, the whole family, needed to adjust ourselves to acclimatize to the changes that needed to be made with our parents. Learning is hard especially when we are stubborn. The whole situation creates not only tension but also frustration among the family. It is difficult, it is hard because the challenge is harsh and our power is so limited.
When I read the journal which I have kept, I see who has been walking with me. The promise of “Emmanuel” is not merely a promise but a reality. God is with us, with me. This promise is not a once done event but an on-going fulfillment.
As we approach the Advent Season, it reminds us that hope is not seeing but believing. It is our believing that enables us to see, to hold onto the source of hope. In his book “The Pursuit of God”, A.W. Tozer said that [Faith] will be God working in us to will and to do. God grants us faith by placing in us the willingness of trusting God, so that we are able to trust Him. Having faith in God enables us to respond to the situation in a way that originally cannot happen according to our fallen nature. Faith enables us to wait, to hope, to walk without fear though the light is dim.
For many people, Christmas is a busy season. But for what? I wonder. The best gift that you can give to your family and friends is YOU. The Lord is with you while you are with them. I encourage you to do something different this year. Prepare a Carol Singing Dinner evening at your own home and invite your family and friends to experience a true Christmas spirit-filled evening. Talk about God, talk about life and then bring these two topics together. During the dinner, you may hand them an invitation card and invite them to come to our Advent, Blue Christmas, and Christmas Eve services. This year, you don’t need to shop around. The most valuable present is priceless, and it is in your heart. Bring the true good tiding to those who are around you.
On behalf of the congregation, I wish you a wonderful and meaningful Christmas and a blessed New Year. I am looking forward to seeing you and your family during this marvellous season of the year. Amen.
Pastor Mei Sum Lai
Resurrection Lutheran Church of Orleans