Hope, Peace, Joy
From the Pulpit – December 14, 2021
Omaha World Herald
Reverend Eric L. Jay
“Hope, Peace, Joy”
Hope, peace, joy, and love are words we hear a lot of during the Christmas season, but what are they? If you were to ask most people or look them up in the dictionary, you would be told that they are all different feelings, desires, or states of mind.
Consider this, however: Any hope worth having must still be there even when we feel hopeless. Peace that exists only when conflict and anxiety are absent is hollow and unreliable. If joy and love are to be genuine, they must prove steadfast and undeterred by sorrow and hatred. The question is, then, in which one of us can these be found?
True hope cannot be manufactured by the hopeless. True peace cannot be achieved by the conflicted. True joy cannot burst forth from a selfish heart. True love cannot be supplied by a heart desperate to receive it. True life cannot exist within the dying any more than nothing can resolve its non-existent mind to suddenly become everything. The only way hope, peace, joy, and love can be experienced by a sinful humanity is if they exist outside of, are given to, and are received by those desperate for them. This is Christmas!
The only one and true God, creator of all things visible and invisible, so loved a sinful world that He sent us the hope of salvation from sin and death by giving His Son, Jesus Christ, not only to be born of man, but for man, to die for our sins and rise again from the dead to conquer death and give us the true hope of peace with God and the true joy of knowing His love and forgiveness.
Hope is received by despair, peace is received by unrest, joy is received by mourning, and love is received by the forsaken. Confessing our sin against God and receiving His gift of salvation born on Christmas is the only way we receive what we are so desperate for. Having peace with God is our only hope of peace with each other. Knowing the joy of His forgiveness is our only hope of joy transcending this world’s sorrows. Knowing the love of God given in the Christ child born to die for our sins is our only hope of knowing love at all.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:7-11