Advent is finally here! Advent is a word that mean coming or arrival of something…in these 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas we are reminded that Jesus came…but what does his coming mean to us today? As we look around at the world that we live in and find ourselves struggling with feelings of apprehension and fear we may feel both hopeless and helpless towards the impact of terror in our day to day existence.
The impact of terrorism on the French in the last few weeks has left many people wondering how safe our lives really are. Our reaction to such a threat is often to retreat to places of security; to build up walls and mistrust those who are not like us. Fear is such a debilitating thing. We all fear something. Deep down we may fear the loss of loved ones; loss of independence; rejection by others; loss of job security or deteriorating health…if we allow our fears to rule our lives then we will live in a constant state of instability that will affect all of our relationships.
So what is the antidote to fear? Faith.
But what is faith? Hebrews 11:1 says, that faith is the basis for the things that we hope for. It’s being certain of God’s plans and intensions in our daily lives, even though we often only see them in hindsight. What do you hope for? World peace…good health for you or your loved ones…a happy and contented life…Without God’s intervention into our day to day lives we would have very few positive things to base these hopes on. We hope that human nature will prevail and that among the horrible things people do to each other – good shines through – and there are always some good news stories, yet by nature we are naturally selfish. We all have a problem with selfishness and a need for hope.
Jesus arrived into this world as the fulfilment of God’s promise to his people Israel. But as the descendant of Abraham, he was the one who fulfilled God’s promise that through Abraham all the nations of the world would be blessed. God’s promises of mercy, forgiveness, love and grace were not limited to Israel; just as they are not limited to the people who come to church…but to all who would put their trust in him. He gives hope to the hopeless and help for the helpless…because his promise is to all who would call upon his name.
God’s promise of forgiveness covers over all our selfish mistakes and restores us when we come to him with a humble heart. Like the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 25 (1-10), can you declare your trust and hope in God? Can you sincerely say: “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour and my hope is in you all day long” (v5-6).
Jesus presence in our lives gives us the confidence to break down the walls that our fears build around us. He gives us help when we need it and a hope for the future that changes the way we live in the present. As we move towards Christmas, let not become a slave to our fears, but let’s live a life of freedom that comes from a relationship with our living saviour.