Everyone is currently asking the question, “What did you get for Christmas?” Maybe because it’s fun to listen and share about wish lists come true, reflecting on good times we’ve had with others as we’ve exchanged gifts. For many of us, it used to be the gifts that primarily got our focus, but more likely now it’s the people around us as the gifts are given that we enjoy the most. It’s also that time of the season when we will look back and reflect on the year past as we anticipate the new one to come. For some, the past year may have been chock full of cheer; yet for others it may have weighed heavy in pain. In our focal text this week, we see the people of God coming together as a community to confess, mourn, pray, praise, and submit to God’s word. As they enter this process, they are reminded of God’s gracious providence, experience renewed passion for Him, and recommit as a community called to live in His ways.
Looking back over the past month, I am most grateful for the times shared together in community with friends and family. I can recall some very special gatherings in recent times when I’ve been able to hear others share about their personal struggles and then be reminded about God’s faithfulness through those seasons. There’s something special about coming together with other redeemed ones and recalling the redemptive pursuits of God in our lives. Gathering in gospel community, we are reminded of God’s faithfulness to lead us rescued but still rebellious ones always back into His good and gracious presence and to our true identity as sons and daughters of THE King. And if that’s true – can we really ever hear that said enough?
Community groups at The Bridge have been on a semester break during the holidays and many of these will resume in the first couple weeks of January. I know I’ve missed the regular engagement with parents and youth of the middle school group that I am normally with. I know I look forward to reuniting our gatherings and gleaning from their stories and spiritual support as it always spurs me on to personal faith and action for Jesus. I’m also excited about the prospects of facilitating another weekly CG for adults to meet in my own home space again. So many opportunities to have conversations about God and His word, to share and pray over personal convictions, to bond over a shared mission of service, and to encourage each other in the good news and living hope of Jesus as the Christ. I don’t want to take these opportunities for granted and I hope you won’t either. The Bridge family has so much to be grateful for as we share in these gifts from God together.
So as we embark on a new year, may it come to pass that we all hope in the assurance of Jesus to restore and sustain us forevermore. May we know and relish our gracious Giver and the eternal Hope He lavishes on our lives through Christ. May His extreme goodness and radical love compel us to supreme devotion toward our everlasting Father and His desires. May you and I take every advantage of the truth in the gospel and the transforming power of His Holy Spirit for our lives. May we be a people that value being together in community in order that we remember and recount God’s steadfast love through confessional praise and authentic conversation with others that God has placed around us. May we be open to the work that God is doing in our midst right now and may we be earnest to unite as partners in faith knowing God works through all these things to draw each of us closer to Him and the heart of His Son. All glory be to our Rescuer and King Jesus!
Grateful and hopeful in Christ,