Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. ~Romans 15:13 (KJV)
Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the season of preparing our hears for the birth of Christ at Christmas. It is a close second to Lent for my favourite season of the year! Each of the four weeks of Advent carries a different theme for us to meditate on when preparing our hearts for the celebration that is to come. I hope you will follow along with me as I diary my meditations on the various Advent themes over the coming weeks as I look forward to Christmas Day! This first week’s theme is hope.
Such a powerful word and sentiment, and something many of us could use more of, hope is woven throughout God’s words to us in the Bible. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu so eloquently put it, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”. There is certainly more than enough darkness in today’s world, just as there was in the world when Jesus was set to enter it as a helpless babe. We each deal with our own darkness, our own struggles, failings, fears, insecurities, needs, and shortcomings. And yet, despite that darkness, there is Light, and it is this Light we celebrate every Christmas. The Light gives us hope, and we, and our world, desperately need hope.
As Paul put it in Romans, God does not just give hope, He is hope, the God of hope. Hope is His very being. He does not leave us wallowing in despair at the trials and tribulations of our life and the world around us. From my own experience, when dealing with our own darknesses, it is easy to lose sight of that hope. We can become so focused on the problems, that hope seems elusive. God is the source of hope. He wants to give us that hope in abundance, and he did by redeeming us and offering us relationship with Him. The coming of Jesus was the fulfillment of the hope that had been held by God’s people for untold generations and continues to bring hope today.
God’s hope brings peace and joy, two other themes of Advent. All peace and all joy, just like Jesus, not just when we are good, or perfect, or happy, or have our business together, but always. It is there and ready for the receiving and pouring out in our life in abundance. And while we remember the hope that went into Jesus’s first coming to Bethlehem, it persists today as we wait and hope for the final fulfillment of all of God’s promises yet to come. The hope that comes from the anticipation of the day where He will wipe every tear from every eye and obliterate the darkness, once and for all!
In the mean time, we continue to live in hope daily, anticipating a better tomorrow than today, striving towards better things for ourselves and those around us, letting hope shine through us to those who yet need hope. Living out God’s hope as we live in it.
What about you? What are your experiences of God’s hope? I would love it if you shared below!