The Advent Candles – Bringing Light into Darkness
The season of advent begins in darkness. This is appropriate because the world can be a dark place. But we remember Jesus’ words
I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark (John 12:46)
As we approach Christmas and the celebration of Jesus coming into the world, each week we light a candle to symbolize Jesus’ light breaking into the darkness.
Fittingly our first light is hope. A solitary flicker, it may not be impressive, but darkness is no longer all consuming, and it points us to something much greater to come.
Hope is to be shared
As Christians we have great hope in Jesus. That is worth celebrating at Christmas time, but it is also worth sharing.
This time of year, it is common for people turn their thoughts toward giving. The holidays prompt memories of home, appreciation, and impetus to help others.
Giving — whether of time or money or in any other sacrifice — is an investment in hope. To give is to take a step toward a future that is more just, more beautiful, and more certain than the world we know.
People with hope should be among those most generous. After all, if you are certain that justice is coming, then you are free to live into that future now. Christians indeed possess a clear and compelling vision of what a reconciled community will look like.
Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away…..I am making everything new! (Revelation 21:3-5)
It’s a hope firm enough shoulder personal risk. It’s durable enough to weather loss. The end is known. Hope provides the certainty needed to inspire action.
Stories of shared hoped
As volunteers who manage the Outreach Ministries Fund, we’ve had the opportunity to get to know many at NSCBC who are motivated out of this kind of hope. OMF partners with those serving both locally and across the world by providing small grants to support specific human service or evangelistic projects.
In 2018, OMF supported a number of projects that express hope in the promise of all things made new, both here on the North Shore and through partners in other parts of the world.
- Provided quality backpacks and school supplies for local children who needed them. Together with North Shore Gospel Partnership Churches, we helped 70 children involved with the Department of Children & Families to be ready to start the school year.
- Gave along with the congregation at the Thanksgiving Eve Service to Fostering Hope, an organization that mobilizes churches to raise up foster and adoptive families by creating sustainable cultures of care.
- Supported Ross and Nicole Behuniak’s work with Overflowing Hands to bring a child from Belarus to their home here on the North Shore for the summer, where he was able to access medical care and enjoy time with a family who loves Jesus.
- Supported Natalie Crowson’s trip to train as a facilitator for Public Square Forums with Clapham Servants, an organization dedicated to contributing to holistic flourishing of local communities that we’d love to see active here.
- Supported Jeff Arthurs’ trip to the Philippines to train pastors in effective preaching to strengthen local churches and reach new believers.
- Invested in the expansion of a library at New Theological College, Dehradun, India where the church supports World Partner Dr. Simon Samuel as Principal.
If you are involved in a project that shines the light of Christ’s hope into this world, consider applying for OMF support here on our webpage.