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Advent Sermon Series: "God's Good Gifts"

by Nathan Parker, Senior Pastor

November 27 – “The Gift of Hope” - Matthew 1:18-25

December 4 – “The Gift of Peace” - Matthew 2:13-23 (Special Christmas Music)

December 11 – “The Gift of Joy” - Matthew 2:1-12

December 18 – “The Gift of Love” - Matthew 5:38-48

December 24 – “The Gift of Himself” - Matthew 10:37-39

December 25 – “The Gift of Grace” - Matthew 7:7-11

There have been many studies done over the years on what makes people happy. Social scientists have long sought to unlock the secret of happiness. And what they have found, by and large, is that there are many different and complex factors involved. But one thing that the research has shown to be a common theme in the lives of people who claim they are happy - they are grateful. Gratitude has been proven to be a foundational aspect of happiness. 

As Christians, we should already know this. We are people who believe that a good God exists, that He created us and the world for His own joy and glory, and that He wants what is best for us because He loves us. And as a loving Father to His children, He has shown us what is best for us. His Word reveals His will for our lives through the Story of His redemption and the commands He gives us therein. What is fascinating is that the most repeated commandments in Scripture are not moral prohibitions, “Don’t do this, don’t do that.” The commands we see most often in the Bible are, “Do not be afraid,” and “give thanks.” Why does God command us these things over and over? Because 1) He wants us to be happy, and 2) in our fallen flesh, we are so prone to fear and ingratitude. 

As we move from Thanksgiving to Advent and on to Christmas, my prayer is that we would be inspired to wholeheartedly obey these commands and, in doing so, be truly happy. Fear flies out the window when we gather in safe spaces with people who love us unconditionally and graciously give of ourselves to one another. This can happen in homes, and I pray it happens in churches like ours, too. We have the opportunity to gather for worship six times during this Advent and Christmas season. We will sing the rich songs that proclaim the arrival of the Messiah, the anointed One who came to rescue a world “in sin and error pining.” We will focus on a different gift that God has given to us out of the overflow of His love for us - hope, peace, joy, love, Himself, and His amazing grace. 

 

When we remember in our hearts the good gifts that God has freely given to us, how can we be afraid or ungrateful? How could we respond in any other way but joy and grateful praise? I pray that throughout this season, we will not be distracted by the lesser things of this world. Every time you see Christmas lights this year, I would encourage you to meditate on James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (ESV). 

May you and your loved ones experience the good gifts of God throughout this season. 

 

Hope, peace, joy, and love,

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