December 12, 2019

Dear Friends,

This is the season of the year when we find ourselves singing about the “thrill of hope.”

Imagine for a minute what it was like to be a faithful Jew, clinging to a belief in Yahweh and His promise of a coming Messiah when more than 400 years had passed since there had been a prophet in Israel. Living in the midst of Roman oppression, Jews had to find themselves wondering if their God had abandoned them. Or if Yahweh really was Most High God after all.

It was in that context of a long, dark season of silence that a handful of weary men and women began to hope again and to rejoice when they saw with spiritual eyes the light of a new and glorious morning shining from a stable in Bethlehem. The news that the Messiah had come was nothing less than thrilling for the people who had walked in darkness for centuries.

I don’t know how many of us think of hope as thrilling. More often, I tend to see hope as something that sustains me in difficult times. Hope is what keeps me going when circumstances are bleak.

In the midst of his own lament over the destruction of Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah declared that in spite of the ruin and destruction around him in his day, there was still a reason for hope. He rekindled the hope in his own heart by reminding himself of what his soul knew was true:

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)

There is maybe nothing that derails and drains life from us like a lack of hope. When we are hopeless, our energy and vitality evaporate. When all hope is lost, all we’re left with is despair and defeat.

In the midst of our own dark world, it’s easy to begin to think that it’s unreasonable for us to have hope for the future. The advent season is a time set aside for us to rekindle our hope that there is a new and glorious day ahead for us as God’s people.

There is a day ahead when faith will become sight. A day is coming when the light will dawn in our darkness. When the deep longing of our soul will be met, and our spiritual thirst will be finally satisfied.

That’s the day when we will experience the thrill of hope.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to Thee, O Israel!

It’s almost tea time! Every woman at Redeemer is invited to a very special time of fellowship this Saturday at the Women’s Christmas Tea:

Don’t forget to bring your shoeboxes to church this Sunday so we can make sure every child at David O Dodd has a shoebox gift from us this Christmas.

And don’t forget to add a personal note to their gift, letting them know that you have prayed for them and hope they will know and experience God’s love for them in a special way this year as they celebrate Jesus’ birthday.

Have you invited anyone yet to join you for a time of candlelight and carols on Christmas Eve? It’s the perfect service for welcoming people who don’t usually attend church to join you as your special guest.

And with the new year almost here, here’s a look ahead to what we have planned for the first few months of 2020 at Redeemer:

Do you know the difference between true and false worship? We’ll consider what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth as we continue our study of John’s gospel this Sunday.

See you in church!

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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