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Sunday, December 3

Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. (Luke 1:11-15)
It may seem odd to start off the Advent season with a birth announcement for a different kid than Jesus, but the story surrounding John the Baptist’s birth is definitely worthy of our attention. We start with Elizabeth and Zechariah, an older couple who by this point had given up hope of ever having a child and they’ve moved on with their lives. John’s arrival was a complete surprise and an utter delight. The story surrounding his birth reminds me that God can still surprise us with good news beyond our imaginations. The traditional theme for the first week of Advent is hope. We’re invited to consider what it is we hope for most and to place our hope in a God who wants all things to work together for our good. The best financial planner in the world can’t come close to attaining the riches God has in store for us. As we enter this season of Advent, let us hold fast to hope and trust in the slow work of God who reveals himself to us in surprising ways and all in due time.
What is your biggest hope for the Advent season – for yourself, for your family, for our church family?
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