It’s Advent — The four weeks leading up to Christmas. It’s a season of great expectation and frequently a review of what is truly important in life. We often draw closer into family and friends as the events of these weeks demand. For way too many of us the season screams stress rather than delight. Yet, this first week of Advent beckons us to quite the opposite. The theme of the first week of Advent is HOPE. It calls us to reflect on the Nativity story and enter in to the promise it provides us. Two thoughts arise that make this theme especially relevant.
The first thought is, if this God of the Universe came to earth and was born in such lowly circumstances, there is hope for us. The Lord showed His tremendous humility and love by how He chose to dwell among us. Because He shared in our common, unattractive circumstances, we get to share in His great glory. (See Philippians 2:5-11 and Romans 8:17) This should encourage us all, knowing that we can joyfully anticipate something better ahead. We have the divine privilege of eagerly awaiting something beyond our wildest imagination. And each of us individually matters. We have tremendous value to the One who created us. He drew close to us personally, physically and at great cost to Himself. Wow!
The second thought is that our challenges today will not keep us in a pit that we can never climb out of. Advent not only holds out promise for eternity, but strength for today. If Jesus could remain obedient to death on a cross, surely we can get through whatever the next crisis the day will bring! He didn’t remain in that smelly cave where he was born forever, and we won’t remain in this stressful phase forever either.
Because Jesus came, we can lay our requests before God and wait with joyful expectation, and knowing with certainty that He hears us and cares. And focusing your thoughts on that makes Advent a remarkably significant time! As we move into the first week of Advent we look at the three traditional themes:
We offer you the following Advent devotional video on the theme of Hope: