The season of Advent provides a blessing and an opportunity to reflect on and embrace how the greatest gift of God’s love … Jesus Christ … can heal the brokenness and loneliness in our lives, in our Church and in the world. As we journey through Advent and prepare for Christmas, let us not forget this fact … this promise … this hope. The fleeting distractions in the marketplace and in the media can easily beset the true meaning and joy of the miracle of Christmas but we must choose to claim Christmas … Christ’s coming in the world … as our eternal gift to behold. And, we must choose to walk in the promise of Christmas, the light of Jesus Christ.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:2-7, selected verses)
No matter how despairing or unstable things may appear to be, we are reminded that God’s extraordinary love has the power to transform chaos and division and bring forth unity and reconciliation. The light of Christ can permeate even the darkest of situations and bring forth healing, peace, righteousness, and hope. The grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ can change hearts, transform minds, and show a way where there was no way before.
As the body of Christ, when we walk in the light and live in the light, we bear witness to the all-encompassing love and power of God. When we live for Christ … sharing the gospel, seeing all the people, loving our neighbor as ourselves, and serving with compassion … we join God in establishing God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.”
When we love the unlovable, welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, visit the sick and imprisoned, and minister to the hurting, lonely and oppressed, we join God in being agents of transformational love. When we break down walls that separate people from resources and each other, build bridges that create authentic community, and work for peace, we join God in upholding justice and righteous.
Living the promise of Christmas and walking in the light of Christ is the work of a disciple of Jesus Christ. Be Love! Be Peace! Be Joy! Be Hope!
I pray you have a joyous Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Resident Bishop to the
East Ohio Conference
Rev. Dr. Gary George
Assistant to the Bishop
Executive Secretary to the Bishop’s Office
The East Ohio Conference Office:
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near Akron-Canton Airport.
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North Canton, OH 44720
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