Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Advent Thoughts 2019 ~ Hope

“…Pursue a righteous life – a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy… to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous… that is truly life.”
1 Timothy 6:11-19 MSG

The Man Who Invented Christmas, the movie about how Charles Dickens writes A Christmas Carol in six weeks, is both creative and delightful. In 19th century England, only 40% of the people attend church; organized religion is on the decline. Theology and science clash. An effort for Christian revival comes from London pastor, Charles Spurgeon, and an American evangelist, Dwight Moody, who preach revivals in Great Britain. At the same time Darwin’s theory of evolution and Freud’s psychology attack the Christian worldview. Dickens' story, A Christmas Carol, offers an enormous impact, bringing an optimistic and transforming message during this dark time.

God’s 1st century Christmas story brings the same message of transformation - possibility of change, potential to be more, and a plan of redemption. In Dickens' story, the main character gets a glimpse into his past and sees the realities of his present and gloom of his future if he chooses to continue living a life of greed and selfish disregard for others. One certain truth with any life review is this: The past is gone, but the choices we make in our present moments greatly determine our future. At Christmas we celebrate the day when Grace comes into the world, when Perfect Love rescues you and me.

Our world today is sadly very much like England in the 1800’s, with a decline in church attendance, with clashing world views between Christian theology and science. We are more modern, with infinitely improved technologies; yet, the world tells us the same lies –power and greed and social status matter most. Most of our cities struggle with increased homelessness, recurrent violence, and spiritual darkness.

The ending of the movie reminds us that the joy of living is found in “kindness, friendship, and generosity.” In Christ, we have been given an “indescribable gift”! These thoughts reflect Paul’s words about righteous living. Let us live Christmas every day, live righteous lives for Christ, live in wonder, faith, and love, live doing good, helping others, being extravagantly generous! Let us live with great Hope! ~dho

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