Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey
I mentioned at the service on Sunday that I am entering my 22nd year of the Christmas season as a minister and I am just as excited about it this year as in years past. I love Advent and the anticipation of Christmas Eve and all that leads up to it. I love the beauty of our sanctuary decorated and throughout the church. Again, this year we had angel gift tags from Opportunity Alliance to help make Christmas for those who are in need. By the end of the service almost every tag was taken. The gifts are due back this coming Sunday, December 9, unwrapped. They can be in gift bags and the gift tag needs to be in the bag as well.
The message on Sunday was A World of Hope and the candle lit for the first Sunday in Advent was for Hope. Sunday at sundown also marked the beginning of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a message of hope. Known also as the festival of lights, it literally shines its light on the darkness and lifts up its people and reignites hope.
Just recently, letters written by Nelson Mandela during his 27 years in prison became public, and they are filled with hope. Hope is what got him through when things looked the most hopeless. Hope was like a warm bath to him. He shares of reading The Power of Positive Thinking written by Norman Vincent Peale and how that was instrumental in him holding onto hope. He makes the point that it is not so much the disability one suffers from that matters but one’s attitude toward it. His example was that the person who says, “I will conquer this illness and live a happy life” is already halfway through to victory. Those of you who know Rev. LeRoy can see he is a great example of the point being made here.
Inspired by Peale, Nelson Mandela said, “Remember that hope is a powerful weapon even when all else is lost.” Mandela was a beacon of hope not only to his country but to the world.
I also shared from Paul K. Chappell’s book Peaceful Revolution on the chapter on “the muscle of hope.” Here are a couple of quotes from that chapter:
“As long as we are alive, the possibility of hope lives within us.”
“Realistic hope is one of our strongest allies in the struggle to solve our personal, national and global problems. To harness the power of hope we must explore and understand what it really is. We must recognize that hope is a form of trust. And like trust, hope is not easily gained.”
Paul shares there are three forms of trust: trust in yourself, trust in other people, and trust in your ideals. He also talks about the difference between naive hope and realistic hope. I invite you to listen to the complete message.
I leave you with this – Hope is like a light shining in a dark place… and never forget that Christ in You is Your Hope of Glory.
Join us next Sunday for the second Sunday of Advent and the message will be A World of Peace.
You are a blessing in my life.
Rev. Patricia Bessey