The church should be the source of hope in Yazoo CountyBy REV. ROYCE LOTT,
The season of Hope is upon us. We’ve all bowed our heads and given thanks, for the most part, in some collective fashion on the day noted on our calendars as Thanksgiving Day, and now we rush headlong into a month of parties, musicals, acts of goodwill, and more, all the while attempting to fulfill the wishes of those closest to us by bringing to reality their personal desires through some form of gifting. Christmas Day will arrive in what will feel like an hour-and-a-half from now, and we’ll collapse from exhaustion – mentally and physically, patting each other on the backs for the success of “another good Christmas.” “WHEW! Glad that’s done for another year!”
Perhaps it’s my current season, or perhaps it’s the reality of the reality of how we invest so greatly in the temporal, all the while, as Believers in Christ, possessing the One True Gift – Life, life eternal!! Don’t get me wrong! My house is beautifully decorated, we’ve decorated the church a bit, and through various acts of benevolence I too will attempt to be a part of being the hands and feet of Christ to as many as possible this Christmas Season. I want to vividly remind EVERYONE that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”, but will I slow down long enough to ask those same individuals, in earnest, what they know about having an intimate, personal, passionate love relationship with Christ the King?
Church pews are empty all across this county! Those who are NOT showing up, for whatever reason, nonetheless still lack. The emptiness which they attempt to fill with another wild game trophy hung on the wall, another gift under a tree, or another relationship, since the last four have failed – that emptiness remains because it is an eternal void. As created beings, we will always be incomplete until we know a restored relationship with our Creator. . .
The Church, not your church by a specific denomination, but THE CHURCH, that is the Body of Christ, living and working with Kingdom purpose, should be so deeply passionate about our eternal rescue that our lives just exude the Spirit of God. Christ’s Hope, THE HOPE for all mankind should be on our lips in blessing, and praise, and honor as we serve, such that those who encounter us feel as if they’ve encountered something different – The Holy Spirit of God, in us, coming through us, drawing others to Christ. At Satartia, we, like many churches celebrate the Advent of Christ with specific scripture reading and the lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath – a symbolic preparation of our hearts for the coming of Christ.
Obviously, as I stated, it is a symbolic act as we know He has already come once – thus the celebration of Christmas. Nonetheless, it is an annual reminder that we are to be preparing our hearts daily such that He can be more, and we can be less (Sanctification) with every passing day and year of our lives, personally. Because of Christ, our hope is not temporary and is not found in temporal things. Instead, our Hope is eternal . . . life without end, what a great gift to offer someone this Christmas season.
Suicide rates skyrocket this time of year! All the stuff, regardless of how nice or how costly, WILL wear out. Maybe some of our churches have worn out. Maybe we’ve grown too complacent with pacifying our own personal, petty preferences, and so in attending our local fellowship, those who are lost and longing find nothing but temporary things, and they’ve already tasted the disappointment of things that fade away and leave them empty. Maybe, just maybe our church pews wouldn’t be so empty, maybe at least a few of the seventy percent of unchurched people in our county wouldn’t be so hesitant to darken our doors and experience the Fellowship of Believers that is so common to us if, if only we’d be more purposeful in living and sharing Christ, THE HOPE for all mankind, in a real and relevant manner, instead of trying to find new ways to present Him so that our presentation is more appealing than someone else’s.
Dead people need life! We too were dead. When Christ found us He offered life FOREVER, a Hope WITHOUT END! Let’s be vigilant, with boldness this Christmas to give HIM to all whom we encounter, not just give some temporary act or material thing in His name. He is the only hope for a lost and dying world, and the dead are desperately looking for life . . .
Enjoy these scriptures to remind yourself of the everlasting Hope you’ve found, if Christ has redeemed you. Then share that forever Hope today. - Isaiah 8:19-9:7, Isaiah 40:3-5, Matthew 2:10 & 11, John 3:16-19, John 1:14, and II Corinthians 5:17
Merry Christmas in Christ, Brother Royce