Thursday, 2 December 2021
Title: A Hopeful Christmas
Pr Mark Tan
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As we come to the season of Advent, the first week is traditionally referred to as the week of hope. Hope might seem to be difficult to muster up these days. But, here are some things from Christmas that we can draw hope from:
- Christmas is a birthday celebration
Christmas celebrates the first arrival of our Lord Jesus on this earth. It’s a birthday celebration. This is unique because we generally do not celebrate birthdays of people who have passed away. We celebrate birthdays of living people. To celebrate Christmas is to affirm that our Lord Jesus is alive, that He has conquered sin and death and that He is alive even today. Celebrating Christmas means that the same Lord Jesus who died for our sins is alive even today.
- This is 2021 of the year of our Lord
Japan recently saw the end of the reign of the Emperor Akihito and the beginning of the reign of the new Emperor Naruhito. With that, the year of the previous traditional calendar ended, and they restarted back to Year 1 of the new reign. Compared to today’s calendar, it is rather significant to see that this is the year 2021 of the reign of our Lord Jesus. This means that Jesus continues to rule and reign all these years till today, and forevermore. Indeed, while the early church could have begun the new calendar from the establishment of the one holy united catholic church, it was decided to count the years from the year Jesus was born. This is because it is not the church that rules, but Christ. Celebrating Christmas means that the Lord Jesus is in charge and in control of our world, and He looks after us with love, mercy and compassion.
- Christmas is a time of gift giving to others
The peculiar Christmas tradition is that instead of bearing gifts for Jesus, we give gifts to other people, especially to those in need. This is in wonderful reflection to the fact that for this King Jesus, rather than receiving more gifts which He deserves, He came to be a gift of grace and hope for all humanity. Celebrating Christmas means to share the hope that the gift of grace, forgiveness, mercy and love of our Lord Jesus is for us and for many more.
So this year, as we try and muster up the Christmas spirit in us, I want to challenge us to draw the Christmas spirit not merely from the food, decoration and presents, but from what Christmas genuinely means: that God loves us so much that rather than forsake us, He gave us hope in the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, whom we celebrate this season.
Merciful God, who sent Your Son Jesus for our salvation: Give us grace to heed the warnings of Your Holy Spirit and forsake our sins that we may greet with joy and hope the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
题目：“ 满有盼望的圣诞节 ”
“但 愿 使 人 有 盼 望 的 神 ， 因 信 将 诸 般 的 喜 乐 、 平 安 充 满 你 们 的 心 ， 使 你 们 藉 着 圣 灵 的 能 力 大 有 盼 望 。”
• 2. 耶稣2021年来继续掌权。