What do you want for Christmas? If you were sitting on God’s knee, and God asked you what you wanted for Christmas, what would you tell him?
Well, I’ve been thinking about that question, and tonight, I want to
share with you what’s on my list. I’ve narrowed it down to four things.
But first there are a couple of things you need to know about God’s
- They are gifts – you can’t earn them!
- They are all available to us through the gift of God’s Son.
The first thing I’d ask God for is love.
God is Love …
- “God is love.” (1 John 4.8, 16)
- “We love, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4.19)
- “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5.6)
- “For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son, so that
whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John
It’s clear that God loves us! Not because we deserve it, but because
that’s who God is – God is love. And because of the gift of God’s Son,
our life, in turn, is a life of loving God and people.
Life is about relationships! We can have great relationships with
people, and most importantly, with God, because God has given us the
gift of love through his Son, Jesus Christ. We get to love, because God
has so generously loved us!
The second thing I’d ask God for is joy.
We can have joy in both the good times and in the bad. When we
experience victories, we are filled joy. For example, after the Exodus
from Egypt, the Israelites celebrated with winging and dancing (see Exodus 15.1—21). And, in the bad times, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8.10).
I’m not talking about happiness; that kind of emotion is dependent on
our circumstances, but joy isn’t. We can have joy, even when things are
not going well; we can have joy even when we have no reason to be
happy. That’s what I want! I want to have the joy of the Lord no matter
what life throws at me!
The third thing I’d ask God for is peace.
“God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14.33)
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1.7)
“… Prince of Peace …” (Isaiah 9.6)
“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I
give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or
afraid.” (John 14.27)
“God’s peace … is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.” (Philippians 4.7)
Just as you can have joy no matter what happens, you can have peace,
knowing that even though it makes no sense at all, you can trust God,
and that God will bring you through, and that all things will work
together for good, because God loves you!
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26.3)
And finally, the fourth thing that I’d ask God for is hope.
Hope is especially appropriate to talk about during Advent. Hope is
connected to waiting. And that’s what we do during Advent. Advent
means, “coming,” or “arrival.” During Advent, we prepare ourselves to
celebrate the birth of Christ! It’s a time of waiting and anticipating
the gift of Christ! We wait because we hope! Our ultimate hope is that
we have God’s forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus Christ!
Matthew’s gospel quotes Isaiah, talking about the Messiah … “his name
will be the hope of all the world.” And, near the end of Acts, the
story of the first century Church, Paul says, “I asked you to come here
today so we could get acquainted and so I could tell you that I am
bound with this chain because I believe that the hope of Israel–the
Messiah–has already come” (Acts 28.20).
The Psalms are filled with expressions of hope …
- “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39.7)
- “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put
your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
“Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” (Hebrews 10.23)
The Passing of the Light …
One of the ways that God leads us is through the light – the
Light of Christ. Tonight, we light our candles to reminder us that God
has sent his Son
into the world, to be the light of the world, and that his light,
shining through us, is the hope of the world!
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a mountain,
glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a
basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the
same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that
everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5.13–15)
Whenever we gather for worship, we light candles to remind us that we
are in the presence of Christ. And at the end of our gatherings, we
extinguish the candles. But before we extinguish them, we light the
candle-lighter, and the acolyte carries the light to the exit,
reminding us that we are to carry the light out into the world.
God didn’t send light to be contained in our hearts or in our church
buildings, God sent light to be displayed everywhere on the planet! Now
that we have received the Light of Christ in our hearts, let us carry
that light into all the world!