What are the next three big events on your personal calendar?
You probably don’t need much time to answer. For most of us, our busy calendars stretch out months ahead, with new opportunities and invitations coming almost every day. Much of the fun of special events is the anticipation, right?
Engagements anticipate the advent of a wedding day. Pregnancies anticipate the advent of a birthday. For Christians, the Advent season anticipates Christmas, the celebration of God coming to earth to live among us in the person of Jesus Christ.
Six centuries before that Bethlehem miracle, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2, NIV).
Our world has been a dark and broken place for a very long time, but when Jesus came, everything changed! Jesus told us, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness” (John 8:12, NIV). Jesus was the living fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy!
For TEAM missionaries and staff around the world — and thousands of people who pray for and support their work — the Advent season is very special. More people will hear the gospel and more will meet Jesus during these weeks than in any other time of the year. Imagine Jesus’ excitement as he looks ahead to the thousands of people he will rescue from darkness between now and Christmas.
Perhaps you’ll use an Advent calendar, wreath or set of candles this year as you anticipate the arrival of Christmas. Traditions vary, but I invite you to join with us in contemplating and celebrating the difference Jesus will make around the world this Advent season.
Hope begins the Advent season on November 29. Hope in our dark and broken world is found in Jesus because he conquered death, sin and Satan in his death and resurrection. “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by Me,” Jesus told his closest friends in John 14:6 (NIV). This Advent, God is offering hope found in Jesus to every nation of the world where the gospel is proclaimed!
Peace is the deep desire of every human heart, and Jesus alone brings true peace! “My peace I give you. Not as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid. … In this world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world!” (John 14:27, 16:33; NIV) Praise God that he will bring his peace to troubled hearts worldwide this Advent season as they trust in him!
Love is too often conditional, until you meet Jesus. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16, NIV). “God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV). Praise God with us! God is showing his love in powerful ways this Advent season. His love is going to heal deeply wounded hearts, mend broken relationships and restore hope for millions.
Joy is a rare commodity for many people who haven’t been awakened to new life in Christ. It’s amazing how some of the most joyful people in the world are Christians living in some of the most desperate conditions. They have experienced what Jesus promised: “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. … I have told you this so that My joy may be in you” (John 15:9, 11; NIV). Pray with us that this Advent, the joy of Jesus will be the evidence of his salvation transformation in the lives of thousands of people around the world.
As we celebrate our 125th year, please join us in praying for TEAM missionaries and the Christians of more than 40 nations who are together sharing the Advent with thousands of people living in the darkness. Remember when you first heard of the hope, peace, love and joy available in Jesus, and anticipate with us the life transformation these Advent weeks will bring to many people.