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Abiding Hope [12-1-19]

Updated: Jan 15, 2020

I love this church. Not the building…although our campus is a beautiful gift from God…but I love the people of Covenant Church. I love the hope you have in Jesus Christ. I love the heart you have for proclaiming God's Holiness in worship. I love your generosity. I love the way you love each other and our community. As we enter the first week of Advent, there is so much to love about Covenant Church.

I trust you had a good Thanksgiving. How are you feeling about leftovers? Have you started your Christmas shopping? My wife and I love hitting the mall on Black Friday or equally-as-crowded Saturday. We get stuff done, but it's also the one time each year we actually enjoy the crowds. I know, we're weird, but it's fun.

On the negative side, in years past "America's Funniest Home Videos" would run those reaction videos of kids behaving poorly in response to a Christmas gift they weren't particularly happy to receive. I used to think they were funny. Now I think they're sadly pathetic. I don't understand why a parent would even submit them to be televised.

So I'm going to flip the script. Here's a response video where a dad lets his kids open one present before Christmas. Unbeknownst to them, it's done in jest. Here's the video…

Those kids are amazing, right? Think about your own Christmas mornings past. I'll bet that, most of the time, even if it wasn't the most desirable gift, children or adults reacted with kindness and grace.

We all know what it's like to be disappointed by the presents we get. But most of us, most of the time, have enough love in our hearts where we don't show it. In fact, we write glowing thank-you notes. Our outward actions are an expression of the condition of our hearts.

Let's start by looking at Romans 15:13:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

I love that. Abound in hope. Other translations put it, "overflow with hope," "so that your hope will continue to grow," "so that you will brim over with hope," "your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope," and so on.