Each new season we start with hope: hope of something better, different, of progress. The beginning of Advent season is filled with such anticipation, but what was it like that first Christmas season?
The Jewish people had been under subjection of conquerors for a long time. They had held hope for their prophecies of the Messiah to come, for a long time. The horizon seemed dimmer, if possible. The echoes of their scriptures seemed very far in the distant past.
It can be quite a feat to stretch one’s hope in the face of such circumstance.
Yet, it was under such circumstances that God had deemed best to finally send His answer, His Only Begotten Son, the Savior of the World.
Why does God wait until just the nick of time? Or does it only seem that way?
Hope is the anchor with which we hold onto the belief that we will have a future, that things will become better, healed, at peace, reconciled. We throw it out into the deep of the unknown, unsure of how far it must go before holding fast in the tumult of the waves of circumstance.
We enter this Christmas season with one candle lit in the hope that the Light of Christ will light our way through the darkness of the unknown, and the unseen. That we would not need to fear trouble, or even death.
The hope of life and a good future is the meditation of our devotion today, the first Sunday of our Advent journey.
Each year I try to have a theme, and this years devotional theme will be “Precious Truths”. Try to find the precious truth inside each scripture for that day. Meditate on it and discuss it, if you can, in your time together. Each Advent Sunday will circle around the candle meaning for that Sunday. Today’s is “Hope”.
Using the Jesse Tree Ornaments and Schedule of Scripture Reading
The scripture reading:Isaiah 11:1-10
“1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.