November 26th, 2021
“But those who hope in the Lord will find their strength renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” 
Isaiah 40:31

Decorating for the Christmas season is the best. 

Decking the halls with the tree, the tinsel, the wreaths, and all the lights… 
It is enough to make our hearts warm with delight.
Decorations are so hopeful. 
They remind us of the joy in this season 
and that there is so much to celebrate in our lives.


Truthfully, after a hard year…  even two… celebrating can feel hard. In this pandemic, many of us have gone through loss, transition, and hardship of one kind or another. And so, if on this first official day of the Christmas season you are having a difficult time getting into the holiday spirit; if all the decorating and shopping and caroling just doesn’t seem that to excite you this year as it has in the past, let me be the first to tell you: 

It’s okay.

In worship during Advent, we are going to explore what it looks like to deck the halls of our hearts this year with what really matters -- especially in difficult seasons. We will explore the question: In this Advent season, how do we adorn our lives with hope, joy, peace, and love in a season, and in a world filled with uncertainty and distress?

This Sunday, we are talking about hope. 

How do we decorate our lives with hope, even when hope is hard to find? 
How do we hang onto it when so much feels hopeless?

On any given day, we tend to put our hope in things that change, fade, or let us down: financial stability, health, somebody else, power, the government, and more. Live long enough though and over time we all come to learn how unreliable these things can be. 

The book of Isaiah was written in a time of deep turmoil and unreliability -- where people desperately longed for the stability in a warring world where it was incredibly difficult to find. In response, the author repeatedly reminds his readers that even when the world is crashing in around us, there is one thing that we can put our hope in that will never fade or fail: the love of a living God who is faithful to see us through every circumstance. The author reminds those with deep desire to find the things in this world that won't disappoint that when we put our hope in the things of God, we truly find renewed strength to carry on, and perhaps even contentment.

Whether you find yourself decking the halls merrily this season, or you hardly have the energy to bring those Christmas decoration boxes up from out of the basement -- my prayer for all of us in this Advent season is that you would sense Emmanuel -- the God who is with us -- drawing near to you. 

I pray for encounters with the things of God -- that the faithfulness of God might be revealed in your life, and renew your strength for a brighter tomorrow. 

I pray that the Lord would bless you and keep you; that God would make his face shine upon you, and give you experiences of true hope, joy, love, and peace this holiday season.

Pastor Kate