Hope – The Message of Advent
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
Advent = arrival, appearing, come to be
The period beginning four Sundays before Christmas
Advent is all about hope. It is rooted in the promise of God that a Saviour, the Messiah, the Anointed One of God would come to save His people. For Israel, the promise of Messiah’s coming was that He would establish a royal kingdom on earth where they would finally be delivered from the hand of worldly kings and no longer subject to exile, bondage or domination by ungodly rulers who oppressed them and made them slaves. To most, however the Messiah would come to save them from their sins and restore them to righteousness before God as He covenant people.
They hoped in God’s promises that the Messiah would come. Though many died not seeing that day, yet they still believed that day would come. Now, hope in God is not futile or uncertain. It is confident and sure, because it is based on the integrity and truth of His Word. What He promises He will do. As advent begins we are reminded of the faithfulness and sureness of God’s promises. He promised to send the world a Savior and He did.
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.” Isaiah 11:1-5
“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
But hope differed, realization delayed, expectation disappointed by the passing of time makes the heart sick. But when the desire comes, when the loved one arrives, when the gift is received, then everything changes. Joy is restored, anxiety abates, longing is removed and a sense of inner peace is realized. With hope satisfied there is a sense of excitement and celebration, and an anticipation of wonderful things to come.
This is the spirit of Advent leading to the joyous celebration of Christmas.
For the first generation of those who witnessed the birth of Jesus there was only darkness until His great light came into the world. With that light came the fulfillment of the promise of God that the Messiah would come.
For us who have known and received His life now in us, the remembrance of His coming is all the more sweet and overflowing with hope and anticipation of great things to come.
This Advent season let your heart soar with expectation and anticipation of the hope and joy of the Lord and the realization and fulfillment of all your most earnest desires as you look unto Him, to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.