The celebration of Christmas is often referred to as Advent. It simply means “arrival.” We celebrate the arrival of Jesus in the world. It is a beautiful time of the year with all of the decorations, lights, gifts, family gatherings, special worship times, and all of the ways we celebrate the season. As kids, and often as adults, we cannot wait until Christmas. There is excitement and anticipation as we await the arrival of Christmas. For hundreds of years people read, heard, and memorized the Scripture and waited for the arrival of the promised Messiah. The perfect, beautiful world which God had created in the beginning was marred by sin. And ever since, humans have been longing – waiting – for the arrival of something better – for redemption. God promised this redemption even from the Garden of Eden when sin was just beginning its destruction. Through Isaiah God promised that the gloom, darkness, and burdens we experience in this sin-cursed world will be replaced with light, freedom, and joy. War will be replaced with peace when the Savior arrives (Isaiah 9). So as we celebrate Advent, we talk about hope, love, joy, and peace. These are the results of the greatest Gift ever given. Jesus brings hope in a world where hopelessness abounds. God shows us His love by sending his one and only son. We sing “Joy to the World” and we can truly know joy because of Jesus. In the arrival of Jesus we find peace that passes all understanding. As we celebrate the arrival of Jesus, we also celebrate all gifts that can be ours through faith in Him. My prayer for you is that you know the gift of Jesus and the gifts of hope, love, joy, and peace which He brings.