Stacy Lowe • December 22, 2021
This month, our Church family has been participating in Advent. We are anticipating the coming of Jesus. We prepare to celebrate His first coming – God in flesh, born in a stable. We decorate our homes, make cookies, wrap presents, and sing songs. We prepare for the celebration with our family, our friends, and the Church. This is such a fun time to retell the story of His birth, to remember the joy that was brought to the Earth when our Messiah, our Savior came to be with us!
I don’t know about you, but sometimes after all the parties and services and presents my heart feels a little sad. There’s a letdown or a feeling of disappointment after all the hype. I think I know why that is. Our hearts are really longing for His second coming, The day He comes on the clouds, and we rise to meet Him in the air. We wait for the time when everything is made right – a new Heaven and a new Earth. We hunger for the day that we will be fully known AND fully loved – the day when there is no more tears or sickness or pain. But that day isn’t today so what do we do while we wait?
We hold on to hope.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. AND THIS HOPE WILL NOT LEAD TO DISAPPOINTMENT.” Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)
In last 2 years, we’ve all ‘run into problems and trials’ – more than we ever imagined. Life hasn’t been easy, but God is developing our endurance, our strength of character, and is giving us CONFIDENT HOPE!
God is giving us this great HOPE through His Son, so how do we practically hang on to it?
We train our eyes to see hope!
Even in 2020 and 2021 we have been surrounded by people who are acting in faith and bringing a thrill of hope to the weary world we are living in. We must remind ourselves to look for what God is doing through His people and creation every day!
This month, our Church has found so many ways to bring hope to our community! Over 300 children were given gifts for Christmas at the stocking stuffer giveaway. Over 200 people got warm clothing from the clothing giveaway. On Saturday, over 665 families had their cars filled to overflowing with good food, hot chocolate, and candy so that they can celebrate this holiday season with their families! Our teens got to take over $1700 and go shop for 60 inner-city kids that needed extra help for Christmas. Families spread Christmas cheer by visiting some of our members and proclaiming Jesus’ birth through song! Our backpack ministry hands out 69 backpacks at 7 schools in North Canton each week so that kids don’t go hungry over the weekend. This month they put together special bags that will last each child over the long Christmas break. You see, hope is all around us!
The most important thing we can do in the waiting is
BE HOPE for someone else!
If you are a baptized believer, you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Our God lives in you! Each time you walk into a room, you bring the presence of God into that place! You bring LOVE, JOY, PEACE AND HOPE into every home, workplace, store, or church building. Are you letting His hope shine through you? If not, it’s not too late to start. Ask God to use you as a carrier of His HOPE this holiday season!
This past month…
· 90 seniors got food boxes
· 237 people received clothing this month
· Over 300 children were given stocking stuffers
· 665+ families received food
· 47 women attended our ornament exchange
· 60 kids were shopped for and surprised with gifts by the teens
· Multiple in-person and online Bible studies took place that were led by NCCOC members
· 69 weekend backpacks of food were given out each week to kids in need