November 27, 2020

When our children were very young, we lived in a different part of New Zealand to where their grandparents lived. I can still remember their reaction when my wife and I would say ‘Grandma and Grandpa are coming to visit.’ They would be so excited and eagerly look forward to their arrival. I do suspect part of their joy was because Grandma and Grandpa always brought presents with them!

This Sunday (29 November) marks the beginning of the ‘Advent’ season, in the lead up to Christmas. It is celebrated over the next four Sundays, and there are many traditions associated with it.

The word ‘Advent’ means “coming” or “arrival”, which for Christians refers to the coming of Christ as a child, and to the return of Christ in the second coming.

I am sure you have seen Christmas wreaths in stores, maybe you even hang one on your door! The wreaths usually hold four to five candles in them. The candles represent hope, love, joy, peace and Christ. Each of the four virtues is perfectly represented in Christ, and indeed, He is hope, love, joy and peace.
The first coming of Christ gives hope to people in that God was willing to give of himself to save his people. If God was willing to give his only Son to save us, then surely we can trust and place our hope in God that he will save us. But it also means that we can hope (trust) in the promises of God too. He promises to watch over us, to guide us, to protect us, to comfort us.

Today, even in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty we can have our hope in Christ, both for temporal and eternal needs.
We have seen how futile it is to place our hope in things that are never guaranteed, such as wealth, job security, health or even in people. The most amazing hope that is guaranteed, that is sure, is a hope placed in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ removes hopelessness and gives us the fulness of hope.

As we draw near to Christmas, think about the hope that Christ alone gives to you.

“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God”
– Psalm 146:5

Richard Vanderpyl
Head of School