Hope has come! – Magazine Leader December 2017

Life brings many changes. What has been the biggest change in your life? It could be owning a property, getting your first dog, having a new set of teeth, the birth of a child, even a change of career or meeting your future marriage partner. We don’t at first always realize the full impact of such a change, even if the immediate change was a really big shift in our worldview. Over time, differences emerge and have a knock-on effect on other people’s lives too. How things once were are not how things are now, nor how things will be in the future. Meeting Jesus changes everything. The bible describes this encounter as being the arrival of hope. So, in describing the change to the followers of Jesus in Ephesus the readers are reminded of life before knowing Jesus: ‘remember that at one time you were separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world’ (Ephesians 2v12). Living without hope leads to some extreme actions being taken in order to try and make sense of life and give meaning to our daily existence. A lack of hope is directly linked to a life lived without God in the world. What will sustain us through hardships and trials? What enables us to endure? The rest of the sentence highlights the arrival of hope that Christ brings: ‘But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ’ (Eph 2v13). It’s an amazing sentence! We can know God. We can know the comfort and enjoyment of being in His presence. This astounding news is at the heart of what we celebrate at Christmas. We prepare for it with the help of our community Advent Windows project and then also at our special Christmas services. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem he was called ‘Immanuel – which means God with us’ (Matthew 1v23). That means hope has come. It’s not wishful thinking that will soon be disillusioned by reality. It is not a fairy tale that we grow out of. This is the message direct from heaven to earth. You are invited to join our celebrations to discover more about the hope that Jesus brings. Details of Christmas services are found on the website. Wishing you a merry Christmas as you learn more of this great hope. Rev. Paul Kingman Christ Church Magazine December 2017