Lighting the first candle of Advent, we can center on the Hope, the Expectation, the Prophecy of Jesus.
The beginnings hold hope, and we look forward with expectations that those hopes will be fulfilled. There are so many times we do not find that to be the outcome.
The good news of the Gospel, and the reason that Christmas is a time of great joy is the outcome of the fulfillment of God’s promises. The prophets who foretold the pieces of the puzzle of the future did not always see the signs of the completion of those things which they glimpsed within.
1 Peter 1:10-12
10Â Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11Â trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12Â It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
How many times do we experience a lack of patience when our faith is tested for even short periods of time?
Yet we have many answers to prayers that come quickly, and which we often forget just as quickly. We seem, instead to dwell on the things we ask for which have not come to pass, or fail in our faith when we don’t see evidence in our surrounding circumstances.
The reasoningÂ given is that we are “only human” when we doubt, but there are many humans who chose to have faith despite the odds that they faced. It seems that a better way to see this whole struggle with holding onto hope, of refusing to let go of our expectations is just that: a human struggle.
TheÂ letter to Timothy exhorts him to “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” To fight against the temptation to give up on God’s promise to us.
God’s promise is salvation in Christ, but this takes many types of expressions for different people. We are each uniquely challenged with inner, and outward, battles in life. Within our common existence and basic needs we have a set of strengths and weaknesses that makes us individual.
Inside this devotional time of focusing in on the expectation of Christ meeting with us, of the revelation of new hope in our souls, of looking for light in a very dark world, what are we looking for this season?
Join me, and record 5 things you hope for this Christmas season. Not the material things, but the spiritual.
- AÂ deeper experience of Christ, getting to know him better.
- A clear view of the hope of salvation, what that means to me personally
- Making room within my heart for more love, joy, and hope.
- Releasing any bitterness or worry, or whatever is taking up space in my life and interfering with the first three goals and hopes.
- Making opportunities to express what I discover within God to those around me: a greater sense of hope and encouragement, an outreach of love.
Those are my five hopes for the Advent season, what are yours?
Is there a specific promise of God that you wish to focus on this season?
I would like to look more closely at “Lo, I am with you always” and learn to be mindful of God’s faithful presence in my life.
Beginning the first of our devotions with the ancient hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”