Attached is the next in this year's sermon series on advent.
In this one, we look at how for all of us - at any given time - two stories are set before us.
One story is the one we can see with our eyes - a story that goes up and down with our own life experiences, our own feelings, and with the ebbs and flows of the news cycle. This story is filled with many things that are dark and even downright evil, and it holds within itself no promises and no certain future.
The other story is the story of the Gospel. This is a story rooted in ancient promises made by God culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of his Son which in the end point to a powerful and glorious future not only for us as individuals, but for our world as a whole.
Abraham (the father of the Christian faith) was faced with many factors in his own life that appeared to argue against the truth of God's promises. Yet at the same time he was presented with a far more hopeful story from the mouth of God. And so he had to choose which story he would trust in and live according to. Today, Abraham's many descendants are faced with the same choice.
In many ways, our choice to believe the Gospel story in the face of the many dark stories we see in our world is most fundamentally a practice of hope. Hope is actually something that exists only when the things around us remain unresolved. This is because no one hopes for what has already has - he simply rejoices that is has become his reality.
Hope, therefore, is inherently a practice of waiting. It requires patience. And in the end, this is what Advent is all about. Advent is about standing, living, persevering, and even being joyful in an unresolved world that remains full of evil because we are hoping that the story we are living in is not what it often appears to be. It is, really and truly, the story of the Gospel - a story rooted in God's promises and made irreversible through the resurrection of Christ and the giving of his Spirit. And so we continue to walk forward, love, and serve in God's Kingdom movement - trusting that our labor is not in vain.
I hope this is helpful to you - and that this season of Advent is filled with hope in God's amazingly good news for us and for our world.