Written by the Reverend Rebecca Chancellor Sicks
Merry Christmas, One and All!
Here we are in the season of Christmas, reveling in the mystery of God-with-us, Emmanuel. This is a season of mystery and wonder, of love and light, of hope for the future. Hope is a good Advent word, as it is future-focused, all about anticipation and expectation. But now that we are in the season of Christmas and we celebrate that God chose to be with us in the form of a tiny, helpless baby, we—like many before us—place our hope in the Christ child.
This Sunday, the Rev. Dr. Laura Barnes and I will share a “Dialogue on Hope” for the sermon. It seems fitting to look back on 2018 and give thanks to God for this year and the ways God has provided, and we will begin to look forward to 2019 with great hope. Like the Psalmist, we can ask and proclaim, “And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7). Knowing that God chose to enter humanity and chooses to be with us now, for what do you hope?
The coming year promises to be an exciting time at First Presbyterian Church with the recent announcement from the Pastor Nominating Committee that they have selected a candidate for our next Pastor. While there is much we don’t know about the coming year, we are called to set our hope on Christ, to expect that God will continue to be-with-us. When we have hope, we have faith. We trust and believe that God is here, that God is at work, and that someway and somehow, God will provide. Hope may inspire us, challenge us, and call us to something new.
Sometimes, hope seems far away or uncertain. In these times, it may be that we are able to find hope in the presence of others. In community, we might find compassion, forgiveness, love and grace—gifts that we sometimes can’t give ourselves. These are gifts from God, but often found through other people. That night in Bethlehem, God did not come to save us in the way many imagined, but the Christ child brought hope to many—both then and now.
Where do you find hope? What gives you hope?
In this Christmas season of love, may we find hope: hope in what God is doing in our midst, hope in the community of faith at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, and hope in our world. May we dare to believe that God hopes too—that God is calling us to the future and has plans to use us to make the world more loving, more caring, more forgiving, and more hopeful.
We hope to see you in worship this Sunday, as you are able. Let us offer our prayers of thanksgiving to God for all that God has provided, and let us look to the Christ-child with great hope for what is to come.
Grace & Peace,
Rebecca Chancellor Sicks is the Associate Pastor for Congregational Life at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas.