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Sunday Message Supplement for 22 December 2019: “Love’s Renewal”

Today’s message is based on two lectionary scriptures, Psalm 80:1-7,17-19 and Romans 1:1-7.

In the Psalms, there’s an uplifting message of restoration, borne by God’s love. “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth …. Stir up your might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved” (Psalm 80: 1-3).

As Psalms attests, Advent is a magnificent time that reflects God’s love through redemption and restoration. Psalms offers timeless encouragement which is as relevant and helpful now as it was thousands of years ago. Why? Because humanity’s fundamental problems haven’t changed. Fear, hardship, discouragement and many similar negativities remain entrenched in the human condition. Consequently, you benefit from regeneration through the power of God’s love. Get ready for renewal!

The psalmist’s plea for both earthly and spiritual restoration also reflects what you need. Just as with an ancient person of faith you can also benefit from divine guidance as you navigate life’s dangers. Your mortal state is as frail and fraught with peril as is that of the ancestral Hebrews pining away in the Holy Land. God responds to your prayers and cries and helps you overcome enemies, both of literal flesh and blood as much as from the paralyzing attitude of doom and gloom. Your earnest plea reflects your need for connection with God’s love, to help you overcome earthly perils. Discover promises in scripture for which you can now claim fulfillment. You are worthy; you are blessed.

Next is Paul’s writing to the Christians at Rome. “To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7). Here we have one of Paul’s characteristic, positive introductions. Paul also recites some of his credentials alongside the basic Christian message. Similarly, it can be helpful for you to review the foundation of your faith so that you can strengthen your spiritual commitments. This is critical because churches and individual Christians can get caught-up in distractions and forget that love is faith’s central point. Paul’s greeting in Romans can serve as a pattern for your Advent journey as you welcome the spiritual re-birth of the Christ-child.

Weaving today’s theme from Psalms and Romans means that you can seek God’s redeeming presence (the Psalmists plea) and internalize God’s redemptive promises (Paul’s example). There’s no better time than now to embrace the Christ child in your heart and mind. You are as ready as ever to experience spiritual rebirth if you will accept it.

You can joyfully share God’s message with all living creatures. Love accompanies the other Advent themes of peace, joy and hope as each promotes transformation this holiday season. As such, you can solidify your Christian life journey with the marvelous power of God’s spirit.

Prepare for the birth of love this Christmas. And before you know it, 2020 will arrive. Cultivate the love that inspired both the psalmist and Paul. You, like they, are a unique and empowered spirit. You can experience restoration and revitalization as you yearn for it and partner with God for regeneration. Consider all that God has for you and visualize embracing the precious Christ-child of love.  God bless you and glory to God in the highest.

–Reverend Hoxey

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