Saturday, December 3, 2016

Saturday December 3, 2016 Hope

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5 NIV

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”-John 8:12 NIV

Traditionally, the first candle in the advent wreath symbolizes hope. defines hope the noun as: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. As a verb it means to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence. The older meaning is to place trust in; to rely. We light the candles of the advent wreath; we see the golden light that reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world. As the scripture states: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Surely this is the basis for our hope. Where there is light, darkness can no longer be. I'm not sure how the board of discipleship chose the  weekly themes for Advent this year, but "watch" seems a perfect partner for the traditional "hope". The very idea of watching implies hope does it not? For who would watch for something if they had no hope that it would come. We know that all the promises of God are true.  That Jesus will return, is promised: My Fatherʼs house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3 NIV. Therefore, during this Advent season we watch because we have hope in the One who has promised to return and take us to be with Him. I can think of no better blessing for this glorious truth than that of Apostle Paul in His letter to the Church in Rome: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13 NIV

God of truth, just as the candle brings light to the darkness, so You have brought light into a dark world through Jesus, in whose name we now pray. In the same way that darkness cannot exist in light, neither can despair exist where there is hope. Fill us with hope, we pray O Lord, as we watch and prepare for Your coming. AMEN!


TG said...

To quote a remark from Mother Theresa, you and I are "Jesus with skin on."

The Lord has made it clear through scripture that being watchful extends beyond the nativity to the heavenly realms,

While shepherds kept their watch by night, all seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord camed down and glory shone around

A linguist would tell you that the Latin translation's (guardare) resemblances to our verb "guard" is not in the least a coincidence.

As the angels kept guard over the Christ child, we too must guard over the hearts and minds of those dear to us.

The story of Jesus motivates us for the task of keeping watch several times:

"Therefore, keep watch for you do not know when the owner of the house is coming--whether at dawn, at midday, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows." (Mark 13:35)

Jesus almost sounds exasperated by having to explain the spontaneity with which the owner might appear. Of course he might come at any time, he's the owner!

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." (Mark 14:38)

If you know the background of this story, it is clear that the disciples exasperated Jesus when they drifted off to sleep.

Jesus wants us to be his messengers with skin on and eyes open to the needs of those in our midst.

This hearkens back to the Old Testament prophet who spoke through John the Baptist,
"Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old." (Isaiah 51:9)

Tracy said...

TG I very much like your analogy that just as the angels guarded Baby Jesus we need to guard the hearts and minds of our loved ones. I would add guard our own hearts and minds from the distractions of the world we live in and the culture of our day, as we talked about in Thursday's post.