Thursday, December 11, 2014


And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:12-13

This week we have been taking a look at the tradition of Advent and what it all symbolizes. Each candle that is lit on the Advent wreath symbolizes something as well.  The last Sunday in November we lit the first Advent candle, the candle of Hope.

The first candle is traditionally the candle of Expectation or Hope. This symbolizes the anticipation of the coming of a Savior, a Messiah and a reminder that this promise was fulfilled through the birth of Jesus Christ. It also provides us hope to look forward to the second coming of Christ, the Second Advent, which will be the completion of all His promises.  Throughout history as God’s people were abused by power hungry kings, led astray by self-centered prophets, and lulled into apathy by half-hearted religious leaders, there arose a longing among some for God to rise up a new king who could show them how to be God’s people. They yearned for a return of God’s dynamic presence in their midst.

And so, God revealed to some of the prophets that indeed He would not leave His people without a true Shepherd. While they expected a new earthly king, their expectations fell far short of God’s revelation of Himself in Christ. And yet, the world is not yet fully redeemed.  So, we again with expectation, with hope, await God’s new work in history, the Second Advent, in which He will again reveal Himself to the world. And we understand in a profound sense that the best, the highest of our expectations will fall far short of what our Lord’s Second Advent will reveal!

The Expectation of Something Better to Come
The savior was promised in the form of a tiny baby – and babies are hope in a precious little bundle.  They are the future; they are a clean slate, a blank page, the beginning of a whole new life.  Babies are pure potential.  When Jesus was born, it was clear that this was the Messiah, the Savior that the world had been waiting for. 

When we have hope, we can know that something better is coming and the night will only last for a while.  Joy comes in the morning.  Christianity is a religion of hope.  We live every breath with faith and hope in the future, when all God’s promises will be fulfilled.  When our hope is in Christ, we can know that God is with us, even in the valley of the shadow of death – I will fear no evil, for you are with me.  All our hope is in Him and we can lift our heads in praise. 

What’s the basis for our hope? What right do we have to place our hope in God? The answer is the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God whose birth we celebrate this month.

Scripture to Claim:
No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.    Psalm 33:16-22  (NIV)

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