Advent 2022: Wednesday, December 7

December 11, 2022

Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. Four words we use during Advent to describe things that Jesus brings us when we keep our eyes on him. On Thanksgiving this year, two of my dear friends’ fathers passed on. Both were believers that we trust are now with their Savior. But in the sadness that comes with their deaths, we can see the opportunities to show the message found in these four Advent words. HOPE, is our having the faith and trust to believe what we cannot see or are not certain of, because we know that Christ is graceful and true to those who believe in him. For these fathers, it’s the trust that God will make a place for them with Christ and other believers (John 14:1-3).

PEACE, yes the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:6). We ask “why?” knowing that there is no answer that satisfies, that there is nothing we can do to understand God’s ways. Yet, in him we can find peace because although we do not know his ways, we do know that in all things, God works for our good when we love him and are called according to his purposes (Romans 8:28). This is especially true in our most difficult times, the times that really test our faith.

LOVE, oh the love of Christ that resulted in a sacrifice so great and so costly that it took away our sins (Galatians 1:4). God loves us all, and he decides when it is time for our fathers, and all our friends, family, and other loved ones, to come home. But God’s promise, as Paul testified, makes death our gain as we will spend eternity with him (Philippians 1:21).

Finally, JOY, the joy that one feels when we have given of ourselves, whether it be for family and friends, or just the person we meet on the street, in the store, or on the ski lift. While we mourn the lost opportunities to share, laugh, and love those who have passed, there is joy in knowing that our loved ones are in his presence, experiencing things we can hardly imagine.

My heart was saddened for my friends and their families, and I will continue to pray for them and be there for them now and in the weeks and months ahead as they process their losses and deal with their pain. Yes, we need to recognize that there will be pain. But there will also be Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy as they reminisce and remember why Christ came: that their fathers might be saved from death as we know it! So, this holiday season, I encourage all of you to speak and share the hope, peace, love, and joy that comes from knowing Christ, so that others might know him and that you might experience the same in sharing what you believe.  

Rob Strode, elder