by Dorette Saunders
Advent is here! The season is celebrated over the four weeks leading up to Christmas. While the celebration primarily honors the coming of the Christ Child, it also reminds us to remain watchful for the return of Jesus. Advent allows us space to reflect, fast, pray, and prepare our hearts as we wait. Traditionally, celebrants light a candle each week to symbolize hope, faith, joy, and peace as they progress toward the nativity.
We wait in joyful expectation for the birth of Jesus feeling a thrill of hope. If we are honest, though, we are constantly reminded that we live in a weary world. A world weary of man’s inhumanity to man, weary of overwhelming circumstances that seem to have an endless cycle, weary of sickness and death. Yet, if we pause during this season, and fix our eyes on God, we can be hopeful and we can yet rejoice. The apostle Paul tells us:
“So let's come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let's keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water. We must hold tightly to the hope we say is ours. After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us” (Hebrews 10:22, 23, CEV).
The King James Version puts the last few words this way:
“…he is faithful that promised.”
God is faithful, and it is this faithfulness that gives us hope not just for today, but for tomorrow as well. Yet we must do our part. We must draw near to God with pure hearts. We must trust God. We must hold tightly to hope and then rest in God’s faithfulness.
Since Advent also points us to the Second Coming of Christ, the Bible warns us to be watchful. Jesus himself tells us:
“ No one knows the day or hour. The angels in heaven don't know, and the Son himself doesn't know. Only the Father knows….So be on your guard! You don't know when your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:36; 42, CEV).
These words give us hope because Jesus has never gone back on his promises, and we know that what he says will definitely come to pass. So we cannot “sleep” on those things that the Lord requires of us: to share the gospel with the world and to give him glory while we do so.
Take time to bask in the hope that is ours as people who walk in the light of God’s Word. Let’s keep our hearts focused on the real reason why Jesus came to us. It was to redeem us and to give us the glorious hope of eternity in heaven with him.
PRAYER: God of all hope, we rejoice that you thought enough of us to come from your glory to rescue us from sin. Give those who do not yet know you a glimpse of the joy that awaits them when they put their trust in you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.