This December, we're learning all about the GIFTS that God shares with us at Christmas during our Share Christmas series. Have you ever received a gift that you didn't want? Maybe you're not actually looking forward to Christmas. In fact, you may just be glad that 2018 is coming to an end! Maybe this year didn't turn out the way you hoped it did... you received a gift, but instead of unwrapping blessings, you unwrapped addiction, loneliness, hurt or even health issues. Can I ask... Where are you LOSING HOPE this Christmas?
ADVENT: A SEASON OF WAITING
The reality is, you can love God, live a righteous life, and yet still have your hopes and dreams dashed by the circumstances you deal with in this life. Losing patience where you want to see progress? Nobody likes waiting... but that is what this ADVENT season is all about. See, Advent is, by definition, a season of waiting. In Luke 1 of the New Testament of the Bible, we see that God's people have been waiting a long time - 400 years, to be exact - waiting to hear from God.
In this Scripture, we're introduced to Zechariah and Elizabeth, a special couple with a huge heart for God. See, Zechariah worked as a Jewish priest in the temple directing worship services, and stood out as an obedient priest in a culture of hypocritical religious people just going through the motions. By this, you would assume Zechariah and Elizabeth were BLESSED... but, Luke 1:7 shows us that they were an older, childless couple who actually seemed cursed among a culture that valued children and family above all else.
Without a child, Zechariah and Elizabeth's situation looked hopeless... like they were given a gift they didn't want. However, Luke 1 tells us that the messenger angel, Gabriel, appeared to Zechariah with news that Elizabeth would bear a son - and not just any son.... John the Baptist, who would prepare the way for Jesus. After 4 decades of losing hope, Zechariah and Elizabeth received the GIFT of HOPE and a FUTURE! See, when God promises something... He delivers! This may not be within our timing... but according to HIS perfect timing!
BETTER THAN YOU THOUGHT
Like Zechariah and Elizabeth in the Scripture, are you open to God's will and way in your life? Or, do you need a change of heart this Christmas? Know this: With God, your story is NEVER over! God is always working behind-the-scenes, and His work in your life may be a blessing to families far beyond your own. See, the REAL GIFT that God gave us at Christmas was His son. Out of His great love, John 3:16 tells us that God sent his son Jesus to die as a sacrifice for our sins... and while to the naked eye it looked like the end of the story, 3 days later Jesus rose from the grave - conquering Satan, Sin and Death! Now, we can receive the HOPE and ETERNAL LIFE that Jesus gives to all who ask.
No matter what you are feeling this Christmas, you do not have to go through it without a Savior. Today, God offers you his free gift of HOPE, JOY and SALVATION. Will you receive His gift today?