Thursday, 2 December 2021
Title: A Hopeful Christmas
Pr Mark Tan

Romans 15:13

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

PRAYER:

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.

班底浸信教会
每日灵粮
2021年12月2日,星期四

题目:“ 满有盼望的圣诞节 ”
作者: 陈燕靖传道
翻译: 黄姐妹

罗马书 15:13

“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 。”

当我们来到降临节时,第一周传统上被称为希望周。这些日子的经历似乎很难燃起希望。但是,圣诞节是给我们带来希望的日子。

  1. 圣诞节是生日庆典*
    圣诞节是欢庆我们的主耶稣基督的降生。这是个独一无二的生日庆典,因为我们通常不庆祝逝者的生日。而是庆祝活着的人的生日。庆祝圣诞节就是肯定我们的主耶稣还活着,那为了我们已经战胜了罪恶和死亡的主耶稣时至今日依然活着。

• 2. 耶稣2021年来继续掌权。
日本最近见证了明仁天皇统治的结束和新天皇德仁统治的开始。至此,当上一历年朝政结束的同时,即是新朝政第一年的开始。与现今的历法相比,2021年更是意义重大,那就是我们的主耶稣这些年来到今天继续掌权。耶稣基督掌权从昨日,今日,直到永远。
事实上,虽然早期教会本可以从建立天主教会开始新的日历,但决定从耶稣出生的那一年开始计算年数。这是因为掌权的不是教会,而是基督。庆祝圣诞节意味着主耶稣掌权并统管万有。他以爱、怜悯和慈悲来看顾着我们。

3.圣诞节是与他人分享礼物的时节
特殊的圣诞节传统是,我们不为耶稣送礼物,而是送礼物给其他人,尤其是那些有需要的人。这很好地反映了这样一个事实,即对于这位君王耶稣,他没有接受更多他应得的礼物,而是成为全人类恩典和希望的礼物。庆祝圣诞节意味着分享我们主耶稣的盼望,恩典、宽恕、怜悯和爱是为我们和更多人而预备的。

所以今年,当我们尝试在我们心中凝聚圣诞精神时,我想挑战我们不仅要从食物、装饰和礼物中汲取圣诞精神,还要从圣诞节的真正含义中汲取圣诞精神:上帝如此爱我们,以至于他没有舍弃我们,而是在这欢庆的时节,以他爱子耶稣的诞生、服侍、死亡和复活中给我们带来盼望.

祷告:

满有怜悯的上帝,祢差遣爱子耶稣来拯救我们:求你赐予我们恩典,顺从你圣灵的警告,离弃我们的罪,使我们欢喜迎接,盼望我们救赎主耶稣基督的降临;与你和圣灵一起生活和统治,独一的上帝,现在和永远。阿门.