RECAP: HOPE IS BORN based on Luke 1:5-25
The first candle of Advent is the candle of Hope. We appreciate hope more when it appears all hope is gone. That is exactly how Israel felt shortly before the arrival of Jesus. Israel never fully returned from exile. Instead of seeing independence and the glory of the Davidic kingdom restored, as prophesied in texts such as Isaiah 2 and Micah 4, the nation continued to fall under the domination of foreign rulers: Babylon, Persia, and Greece under Alexander the Great. When Alexander died, his kingdom was divided and ruled by his four generals. One of the descendants of Ptolemy, Antiochus Epiphanes, was so vain and obsessed with power that he slaughtered all of the priests of the temple and profaned them by offering their bodies as a sacrifice to a demon god, sprinkled in the parts and blood of pigs. This act inspired a nation to revolt and gain political independence, only to see it evaporate about one hundred years later when Herod the Great made a deal with Julius Caesar, bringing Israel under the Roman Empire. During this time, there was no new revelation from God, no new prophetic voice, or no new biblical text. The nation of Israel was desperate, wondering if God had abandoned them. All they had were the final words of Malachi that God would send the prophet Elijah as a forerunner to the coming of the Lord.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were faithful people yet could not have any children of their own. Like the nation, both experienced a sense of a lack of hope. But everything changed that day when God sent the angel Gabriel with a message for Zechariah–not only would Elizabeth bear a son, but that son would be the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy and prepare the way for the arrival of Jesus! Hope had returned to the land. This episode reveals that hope is available for all. Hope is made available for the upright, who faithfully follow God. Hope came for the barren, providing life and new birth amid emptiness and pain. Hope came to restore a fallen nation, reminding them they are not forgotten, but God has come to bring them out of darkness. Hope can restore the unbelieving heart, mending the brokenness and pain, inspiring belief again. And hope has come to restore those who are disgraced, whether in the court of public opinion or by the weight and stain of sin. The promise of John the Baptist is the declaration that hope has come!
We may not have experienced 400 years of despair, but it can still feel like hope is gone. But just as God intervened in that day, he will intervene in ours. Christ has come, and he still reigns victorious! But how do we live in that hope? We can live and thrive in the hope of God as we live the very message of John the Baptist. We need to repent, change our direction, no longer pursue the ways of the world or ways we think are right, and pursue God’s path. We need to restore our hearts, remove evil and sin from within, and allow God to change our hearts, nature, and character. We need to abandon disobedience and pursue righteousness. Last, we must prepare the way of the LORD, removing those obstacles that keep us from hearing or seeing God.
Hope shines in the darkness and can pierce through even the worst of times. Hope has come because of Christ. Will we walk and live in that hope?
Questions for Reflection
1) What do you feel in your life is hopeless?
2) How can you cling to God’s hope today?
3) Do you still feel the weight and gravity of your sin, or do you know the freedom of forgiveness?
4) In what areas of your life can you demonstrate repentance?
5) What obstacles keep you from following God 100%
This Sunday is the second Sunday of Advent, and we will light the candle of Joy. Pastor Ryan will preach the sermon “Joy Springs Forth,” based on Luke 1:39-56. How does Christ bring us joy? How can we demonstrate the spirit of joy to the world? Come or tune in on Sunday to find out.
Daily Bible Readings for December 5 – 11
December 5: Jeremiah 29:11-13 What does this passage teach us about hope?
December 6: Romans 5:1-5 What does this passage teach us about hope?
December 7: Romans 8:24-31 What does this passage teach us about hope?
December 8: 1 Peter 1:3-6 What does this passage teach us about hope?
December 9: Hebrews 11:1-6 What does this passage teach us about hope?
December 10: Psalm 47 What does this passage teach us about joy?
December 11: Nehemiah 8:5-12 What does this passage teach us about joy?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, December 10–Christmas Caroling after church; soup/sandwich carry-in *PLEASE SEE NOTE BELOW*
Sunday, December 10–Church pizza and movie night, 5 pm
Thursday, December 21–Leadership Team Meeting, 7 pm
Thursday, December 21–Leadership Reorganization Meeting, 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 24–Christmas Eve @ 11 pm
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office with your birthday or leave a note in the offering plate. We don’t want to miss anyone.
Beaver Creek has updated its social media page. Please follow and share so many people can see what is happening at Beaver Creek! You can find the pages as follows:
Advent Music Minutes & InstaChoir
Reminder to all children and youth: Please meet downstairs at 9:45 to prepare for an advent song, “Go Tell it On the Mountain,” that will be sung during worship on December 17 w/ the InstaChoir.
InstaChoir will meet briefly after church in the library.
Beaver Creek will go caroling on Sunday, December 10 (snow/rain date December 17). We will meet right after church. Please bring a soup or sandwich tray to share. Then, we will carol to our friends!
*NOTE: Right now, soaking rain appears to be in the forecast for Sunday. There will be an email that is sent out by Friday if we will postpone caroling to the following week due to the weather.*
Pizza & Movie Night
On Sunday, December 10, please gather at the church at 5 pm. Please bring with you a pizza and a drink to share. After enjoying some fellowship, we will watch Home Alone together!
Misti has placed a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board to assist with the backpacks. If you are willing to help, please sign up this week!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are in need of both worship leaders and children’s storytellers. Contact Alice Over, Phyllis Simmons (worship leading), or Joscelin Cooper (children’s story) if you want to serve.
CHILDREN’S CHURCH & NURSERY
Children’s Church WILL NOT meet this week. It will meet next Sunday, December 17.
The Christian Education Team is looking for six to eight volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School and church hours. There will be a signup sheet in the back. If you would be willing to volunteer to allow our families to be able to participate in worship, please let one of the members of Christian Education know (Theresa Eckard, Scott McAvoy, Becky Whitmore), or sign up on the signup sheet!
Sight & Sound Interest
The Fidelis class is looking at sponsoring a church-wide trip to Sight & Sound in 2024. But before the class can investigate bus prices and total cost, we want to gauge the true interest in the church. We have had several expressions of interest and are trying to find the best package for us as a church body. If you want to be considered for this one-day event next year, please contact the office or let Pastor Ryan know in the next few weeks.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe to the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Place in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller & Carolyn Wine
Keep Evy Kaye’s friend Mary Beth in your prayers as she is wrestling with cancer.
Eddie Baker (health)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Joe Berry (health)
Terri Burkholder (health)
Norma Cunningham (recovery)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Christy Lazer (emergency surgery)
Ruth Luce (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Norlen Miller (hospital)
Mary G Miller (health)
Mary M Miller (recovery)
Savannah Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Shelby Simmons (foot)
Crystal Smith (health)
Norma Suter (recovery)
Kenny Wheelbarger (recovery)
Whitmore family (house)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Cindy Wittig (health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Mary Batterman (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church