Love, Hope, Peace, Joy – the gifts of Advent.

Just how are these gifts wrapped into the days surrounding Advent and our celebration of the coming of the Christ Child? Or, are they gifts for all the world, for all our days?

Or are they both? God with us, Emmanuel, at Christmastime, in all the world, on all our days . . . ?

The deep and abiding love of God present since the beginning, made visible in the life and sacrifice of our Savior. The hope Christ brings into our world and our lives, as even the tiniest flicker of Light can illumine the darkness of life, suffering, sadness, and death.

The peace of God that truly does elude all human understanding and comes to us as a gift in all circumstances when we place our hope and lean into Jesus.

And joy . . . ? Also a deep and abiding gift. Joy inexplicable, given in the midst of all of life to those who walk in the Light of Christ. To those who choose to believe that this life as we humanly know it is not all there is. This life though rife with evil, is covered with hope of life everlasting. One day there will be no more war, no more evil, no more guns, no more tears, no more pain as we live in the Light of the Prince of Peace. As we worship and adore the One who brings us joy everlasting.

For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given,
and the government shall be upon His shoulder;
and His name shall be called,
the mighty God,
the Everlasting Father,
the Prince of Peace.

May the love of God, the hope found in Christ, the peace brought by the Spirit evolve into a joy indistinguishable for each of you. And may your lives continue to bring Light, love, hope, peace and joy into each life you touch.

Merry Christmas . . . Emmanuel, God with each of you,