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Advent - Thankfulness

thankful

Less than one week until Christmas and we have heaps to be thankful for! Today I challenge you to ‘count your blessings’ as the saying goes, remember the good things and be thankful to God for them. Christmas is a time of joy and hope and generosity. Hopefully you get to spend time with family and friends and enjoy the summer weather with some time off work. We have a lot of things to be thankful for and ultimately we can be thankful for the gift of Jesus given to us. God gave Jesus and humbled himself to come as a baby to the world. We can express our thankfulness to God by coming to him in worship and recognising the huge sacrifice he gave to save the world through Jesus. How can you be more thankful this week? Make time for God and praise him for giving himself through Jesus. Give thank you cards or gifts to those who have helped you out this year. Be thankful for the things you have and consider giving to those who don’t have as much as you.  Give your time to help someone out or honour them. Have a joyful week leading up to Christmas and don’t forget to be thankful!

Advent - Generosity

generosity

Two weeks until Christmas! At Christmas we focus a lot around gifts – who we need to buy for and what we want and hope to receive. We know Christmas isn’t all about presents but sometimes we can get caught up on that detail. Christmas is a time for generosity. Being generous means being willing to give something more than what is usual or expected. It’s going above and beyond to give (your time, your money and your talents) more than is necessary and being self-less. We know that God didn’t have to, but He went above and beyond and showed us His generosity by sending Jesus at Christmas. No one expected the Lord God Almighty to humble Himself and become a tiny baby. But God has so much love for us that He made a way for us to know Him and that way was through Jesus. This Christmas how can we show God’s love to others by being generous? How can you surprise people with your generosity and do something unexpected to bless them and share God with them? Alongside that, thank God for His generous love towards us and make sure you acknowledge Him in this lead up to Christmas.

 

Advent - JOY!

JOYa

Its three weeks until Christmas now and everything is getting pretty exciting!  There is carol singing, end of year parties and lots of fun decorations and lights. The summer sun is lovely and warm and despite some drought here in NZ it is generally a joy-filled time of the year. But if we only experience joy when things are going well and we are feeling happy we are not really experiencing the Joy God brings to us from knowing Him and being full of the Holy Spirit. Joy of the Lord is a wonderful gift from God that doesn’t run out or go away when we are facing tough times or experiencing sadness. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit which produces in our lives when we stay connected to God through prayer, the Word and the Holy Spirit working within us. To get more Joy in our lives we need to recognise where God is at work in our everyday situations and choose to worship and praise God despite the circumstances we find ourselves in. Pray today and ask for more of the Holy Spirit and JOY in your life to carry you through the tough times!

Advent - the coming of Christ!

hope

Its four weeks until Christmas today and some churches will have started Advent yesterday. Others will start next Sunday as there are four Sundays before Christmas still to come! Advent season is a time of expectation as we look toward Christmas and the coming of Christ to the world. It’s easy to gloss over the Christmas story as the familiar tale we hear every year and not be full of the wonder and awe that it is. God became flesh and came to the world as a tiny baby! Christ coming to the world is good news for us! We were separated from God by our sin and headed towards death but God made a way for us by sending Jesus. Jesus gives us hope that we can be forgiven, made right with God and restored in our relationships with Him. He gives us hope for the future and purpose and joy for each day we have on this earth. This Advent let’s be reminded of the awesome gift we have of Christ coming to the world and the hope that brings us.