DECEMBER: “Sent: Delivering the Gift of Hope at Christmas” Advent & Christmas Series
- December 1 “Jesus Reconciles” When we use the word reconcile, there is the implication that something that once had been will be restored, things will be made right. Jesus was sent to reconcile us in our relationship with God. For that right relationship with God we long to be reconciled, and we are given the ministry of reconciliation. Jesus was sent, and Jesus sends us.
- Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 1:5-17
- December 8 “Jesus Sets Us Free” Jesus was sent to set us free so that we may fully live. When Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, those words have as much power today for us as they did when he first spoke them. Jesus sets us free so that we may live life with joy and be light-bearers to those who need his love and hope. Jesus was sent, and Jesus sends us.
- Scriptures: Luke 4:16-19; John 8:31-36
- December 15 “Jesus is God with Us” God meets us where we are in Jesus. Jesus is God with us in times of pain, fear and uncertainty, waiting, and joy. Just as Jesus is God with us in all these times, we are to let our light shine in God’s love for others. Jesus was sent, and Jesus sends us.
- Scriptures: Isaiah 7:14, 41:10; Matthew 1:18-23
- December 22 “Jesus Brings New Life” Sometimes we get so discouraged with problems that are right in front of us that we forget the power of God to bring newness of life. We all want new life, a new way of navigating the chaos around us, and God knows we need new life. God has given us new life in Jesus, and we tell of that new life to others. Jesus was sent, and Jesus sends us.
- Scriptures: Ezekiel 37:1-6; Romans 6:1-8
- December 24 “Jesus Changes Everything” The impact of Jesus’ influence on our world cannot be measured. His birth was right on time and right on purpose. His birth is a historical reality and can be a spiritual reality for those who truly believe in him, bringing life transformation that indeed changes everything. Jesus was sent, and Jesus sends us.
- Scriptures: Christmas passages from Matthew and Luke
- December 29 “Jesus Sends Us” Since Jesus reconciles us, sets us free, is God with us, brings us new life, and changes everything by coming into this world, He also sends us to share this good news with others. Jesus was sent into this world for us and as His people He sends us out into the world with His message. Jesus was sent, and Jesus sends us.
- Scriptures: John 17:18-23; John 20:19-21
In 1988, Anissa Ayala was sixteen years-old and diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia. The doctors said that if she did not receive a bone marrow transplant after chemotherapy and radiation treatment she would die. Neither her parents nor her brother was a match, and they could not find a donor elsewhere. Her parents, both in their forties, conceived another child and hoped that its bone marrow would be compatible with Anissa’s.
To their great delight it was determined that this new baby was a compatible donor, and when Marissa Ayala was fourteen months-old they took some of her bone marrow and gave it to Anissa. Anissa made a full recovery from the Leukemia and both sisters lead healthy lives today.
In a sense, Marissa was sent to save. Christmas celebrates the fact that God sent Jesus to be born into this world for the express purpose of saving us. He is the one and only Savior that can save all those who put their trust in Him. Jesus being sent delivers to us the gift of salvation accompanied by the gifts of hope, peace, joy and love.
The early leaders of the Christian faith wisely set aside the four weeks before Christmas to prepare for Jesus’ birth in the season we call Advent. The word advent means “coming” or “arrival.” What was understood in designating this season was that Jesus’ birth was not just a one-time occurrence, but that every Christmas has within it Jesus being sent, sent with the possibility of Jesus being born again in our lives and in our world. Historically, Jesus’ birth happened once, but spiritually his birth can happen anew for us today. This thought is expressed in “O Little Town of Bethlehem” with the words, “O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray; cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.”
Jesus was sent into this world for us and in turn He sends us into the world. Praying on the last night of his life Jesus said, “As You sent me into the world, so I have sent them…” Our series for Advent and Christmas is “Sent” with the intent to help us understand the meaning of Jesus being sent into this world and what it then means for us to be sent, discovering our call to
be Christ’s hands, feet, head and heart. May what it means for Jesus being sent and what it means for us being sent deliver to us the true meaning of Christmas.