Today marks the 4th and last Sunday of Advent, representing joy that Jesus gives to the world. As the year-end approaches, perhaps it is a good time to reflect with thanksgiving on all that God has done for us in 2015.  What can we be thankful for in this past year, not just for all the good, but dare we say, even for the bad things that have happened or that we have experienced?

Paul writes in Heb. 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” You might wonder how Jesus could endure the pain and agony of suffering and dying on the cross for our sins. More than for His love for the world was His obedience to His Father’s will, fulfilling everything God had destined, to hear at the end of His life, “Well done, good and faithful servant! … Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21, 23; NASB).

For myself, this month marks a new beginning serving at ORPC. It has been a year of many ups and downs, and at the end of the day, my family and I are thankful for God’s provision and blessings, and grateful to the church leadership, for this wonderful opportunity and privilege to serve in both Youth and Young Adults ministries.

Indeed, as a family, and I’m sure for each of you as well, we look forward to the new year with excitement and anticipation. Let us continue in this Advent season to pray that God may grant us hearts of renewed joy and passion, even as we rejoice and celebrate our Lord Jesus’ birth. For those who might struggle with this, or might have had a not-so-good year, may God help you experience true joy in spite of circumstances, and may you find your true rest and comfort in Him this Christmas.

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