In Advent, we anticipate and find profound joy. The Advent season is an invitation to make time to reflect, to recount again the ancient story, to remember again why the Christ Child came to the world. This season is our opportunity again to discover anew the deep meaning of “God-be-with-us.”
When we light the Advent candles, we engage the mystery of light from darkness, life from death. And, if we allow, our worship and our lives are transformed. We are moved from focus on just ourselves and our interest to extending the hope and joy of “God-be-with-us” to our neighbors.
For some of us, 2014 has been a time of walking through dark nights, and wrestling with God for power and hope. Some continue to feel overwhelmed and beaten down, depressed, and disempowered. While others have experienced unexpected help and assurance that, always in the end, light wins over darkness and God brings strength to the brokenhearted. Like me, I hope that you have experienced meaning and joy in your life, even in the most difficult days.
Once again, we proclaim that no matter what happens, or how difficult life struggles are, the Christ Child is with us and seeks to bring salvation and new beginnings to us and to the world. Advent is our chance once again to tell the story of Jesus Christ coming to the world with passion and newness.
I pray that all of us in Wisconsin and beyond will have open hearts to receive the powerful message of “God-be-with-us”. When our hearts respond to God’s amazing presence, courage pours out from our open hearts to help others on their journey to find deepest joy. If we are willing to let our hearts open, others may join with us as we journey together alleviating fear and uncertainty and welcoming joy.
May Christ's joy renew and empower you and your church and all of us together with divine Good News, the joyous Good News “God-be-with-us!”
In Deep Appreciation,
Hee-Soo Jung, PhD
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).