“The Holiday shopping season has arrived!”

I actually heard these words in a television commercial now that the, well, “holiday shopping season has arrived.”   When is this season?  It starts sometime in mid-November and terminates on the week after Christmas when we return the gifts we didn’t want (exchanging them for what we do want) or buy out the Christmas collections at our favorite department stores.

The holiday shopping season has arrived.  Indeed.

Is this the hope we have as disciples of Jesus at this time: good deals and great steals?  Or is there something more?

We want there to be more.  We need there to be more than just the fluff of the season.  We need hope—real hope—to energize us to use this “holiday shopping season” to be bold in helping everyone tangibly realize the (sorry for the cliché) “reason for the season.”

It wasn’t the “holiday shopping season” the Apostle Paul was referring to when he wrote under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration the words of 2 Corinthians 3:7-12 (from the New Living Translation).

The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!

12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.

 

The birth of that Baby gave us life and that life provides hope for us.  It’s a real, lasting hope that should warm our hearts all through the year.  This passage reminds us that the covenant God had made with humanity was nothing compared to what He did through His Son, Jesus.

Compared to the glorious life we’re given, the Old Covenant was faint.  Yet, even a cursory glance at the Old Testament—especially the Psalms—provides us a picture filled with hope over the glorious promises of God.

If the saints of the Old Covenant were hopeful and faithful with the promises of God looking forward to Christ, why can’t we move from the manger in hopefulness and faithfulness?

We can.  And we will.

advent_candles_the_candle_of_hope-title-2-still-16x9But it won’t be easy this “holiday shopping season” to be the bold, confident ambassadors of Christ-mass we need to be.  Simultaneously, the world—your world—is looking for hope that we KNOW isn’t wrapped in boxes, topped with tags, and hidden under trees.

The hope they need and the hope we cling to was the Father’s Gift of Hope in the flesh: The Word, Jesus Christ.