Daily Reading & Prayer
Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
In the millennia preceding the advent of Jesus, prophets and lyricists foretold his arrival. They eloquently spoke of awaiting a Messiah, employing the Hebrew term yakhal, denoting hope. This concept persists beyond Jesus' birth, threading through the fabric of our fractured world. Despite the weight of history's anticipation, despair need not prevail. Hope, often perceived as mere optimism or wishful thinking, is different for the Christian. Our hope isn't abstract; it's anchored in a person—Jesus. As missionary Stanley Jones aptly put it, "The early Christians did not say, in dismay, 'Look what the world has come to,’ but in delight, ‘Look what has come to the world!'"
While this season may appear broken and painful to many, we don’t surrender to hopelessness. True hope beckons us to engage with each experience because it directs our attention to Jesus. It's not a passive sentiment; hope is a powerful force, transcending circumstances and finding embodiment in the person of Jesus Christ. It surpasses a mere state of mind, representing a resolute expression of trust in the face of despair.
Advent, serving as a season of anticipation and reflection leading up to Christmas, offers a profound opportunity. It prompts us to remember the actions of Jesus and anticipate his future coming. Advent becomes a poignant reminder that God came for us, remains with us, and will return—a ritual of reflecting on God’s presence in our lives.
How are you feeding your hope? Read God’s Word daily, make time to be with people with bold faith, speak words of faith, and your hope will grow.
Hope can prompt us to action. Read Romans 5:3-5 and James 1:2-4 to understand how hope empowers believers to endure trials, cultivate character, and engage actively with the world while awaiting Jesus' return.
God, as we anticipate the celebration of Christmas, help us to reflect on your past faithfulness and look forward with hope to your future promises. May this Advent Season be a time of spiritual renewal as we remember your coming to us in Jesus Christ. In Jesus' name. Amen.