Anticipated Glory ~ One of the very first memories of my childhood was on a cold, snowing Christmas Eve in Montana. I remember Christmas Eve as a moment of “anticipation.” With over a foot of snow accumulating, it would be one of the longest nights in preparation for Santa. What if I fall asleep before I could hear him on the rooftop? What if Santa and his reindeer could not descend in the depths of the snow drifts? After my preparation to make the “nice list,” it brought me hope. I was so eager to hear any sound of a jingle in the sky, in open plains or even take a peak of reindeer lights in the distance. The hope grew with each passing moment until he finally made his magical landfall. As promised, Santa made his stop, I just didn’t see him.
Fast forward to today, I wait in anticipation for the beautiful season of Christmas and what it brings to our lives. It is no longer just about jingles, gifts, or a sneak peak of Santa’s sleigh, but the anticipated and spiritual preparation for the coming of our Lord. Today, I witness those bright lights in the darkness and hear “Silent Night, Holy Night.” The child born of God entered this world as an overcomer. He looked vulnerable as any other infant, yet He could not be defeated, distracted or diverted from His mission. With our faith and hope, we know Jesus is with us, we just can’t see Him.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Gift of Hope ~ The world lacks hope. We have received new birth into a living hope that’s real every day. It’s living because Jesus is alive and offers to transform our hearts, minds, and actions daily. As we understand God’s forgiveness, we start forgiving others. As the reality of Christ’s sacrifice penetrates our hearts, we lay down our selfish desires. We begin to serve our families, our neighbors, and even strangers on the street. Although mundane, painful, and stressful events threaten to diminish our hope, Jesus renews our hope whenever we seek Him.
Christ is the gift of Restoration ~ Jesus was born to restore our relationship with the Father. He is everything we have learned from Him… hope, love, joy, and peace. The Wreath of Advent represents an aspect of the spiritual preparation for the coming of Jesus. God weaves the promise and appearance of a Savior. Hope for the future, that we will be redeemed. Hope for the present, that we are not alone, but are loved and have purpose. Hope even over the past, that our failures are not greater than God’s power to transform.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
People need to know that Jesus came to bring hope, that He is our hope, and that our hope is alive. When we as believers speak of hope, we don’t mean a desire that may or may not be fulfilled. No, our hope is certain. Our hope for forgiveness, for reconciliation with God and eternal life, rests on the finished work of Jesus.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Paul describes Jesus Christ as “our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1) and “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Jesus not only came to bring hope. He is our hope. We have hope because Jesus forgave us. Knowing Jesus brings contentment regardless of material possessions and joy despite difficult circumstances. Nothing can destroy this hope because it’s stored in heaven where no earthly power can touch it.
Is the hope of Jesus real and alive in you?