ADVENT WEEK ONE – HOPE
“Happy New Year! The Christian year begins with the season of Advent.”1 “Advent anticipates the ‘coming of Christ’ from three different perspectives: the physical nativity in Bethlehem, the reception of Christ in the heart of the believer, and the eschatological Second Coming.”2
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jer 33:14 ESV).
The Christian story is essentially one of daring hope, and we proclaim it boldly during Advent. All our senses tell us that God is not here, that the world is encompassed in darkness, cold, and pain. Yet we proclaim during this darkest, coldest time that He is here, tangibly born in the flesh, present with us still today.3
If you read the Bible cover to cover, you will discover there is a lot of waiting done by God’s people. Even though God made them wait, He didn’t allow them to wait without hope. He made covenants, anointings, and promises with his people while they waited, which gave them hope.4
“Hope, in the Bible, exists as a secure assurance, a trust placed in a trustworthy God. God has not failed us in the past, and therefore, if he claims he will do something in the future, we can have a hope that he will fulfill that claim.”5
“We aren’t alone in hope for an improved political climate. The Jewish people living more than two thousand years ago were hoping for the arrival of the Messiah to rescue them and bring about a just and peaceful kingdom.”6
Revelations initial recipients were living in two overlapping realities: their assurance in the sovereign reign and glorious return of Christ; and their earthly, everyday experience of waiting and suffering. Some two thousand years later, we still live amid these overlapping realities. Here, between Christ’s first coming and his glorious return, our lives may also feel like a mix of kingdom and confidence alongside waiting and suffering.7
“In this day and age, where evil abounds and all seems lost, we can also hope that the prophecies about Jesus’ second arrival to earth will also be fulfilled.”8
“[W]ait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:7-8 ESV).
(1) In Hope Assured
1. “Hope is a Verb: Salt’s Lectionary Commentary for Advent Week One,” 27 November 2018, Salt, 9 March 2021 https://www.saltproject.org/progressive-christian-blog/advent-week-one-lectionary-commentary.
2. “Advent,” Wikipedia, Wikipedia, 9 March 2021 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent.
3. Catherine McNiel, “Advent Week One: A Hope Made Sure,” 2 December 2019, Awana, 9 March 2021 https://www.awana.org/2019/12/02/advent-week-one-a-hope-made-sure/.
4. Dori, “Advent Week 1 Hope: Family Devotional,” 1 December 2018, This Full Life 5, 9 March 2021 https://thisfulllife5.com/week-1-advent-family-devotional/.
5. Hope Bolinger, “What is the Candle of Hope for Advent? Week 1,” 6 December 2019, Christianity, 9 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-candle-of-hope-for-advent-week-1.html.
6. Matt Tullos, “Advent Devotional (Week 1): Faith,” 25 November 2015, Lifeway, 9 March 2021 https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/devotions-christmas-advent-week-one-faith.
7. Kelli B. Trujillo, “Advent Week 1: He Will Come Again in Glory,” 29 November 2020, Christianity Today, 9 March 2021 https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/november-web-only/advent-week-1-he-will-come-again-in-glory.html.
8. Hope Bolinger, “What is the Candle of Hope for Advent? Week 1,” 6 December 2019, Christianity.com, 9 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-candle-of-hope-for-advent-week-1.html.
9. Robb Redman, “What is Advent?” 17 December 2020, Worship Leader, 9 March 2021 https://worshipleader.com/calendar/advent-day-19-with-steve-angrisano/.
10. “. . . Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees” (Romans 8:24 ESV)?
11. Justin Holcomb, “What is Advent?” 6 November 2020, Christianity.com 9 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/christian-life/christmas/what-is-advent.html.
13. Arthur S. Way, Letters of Paul, Hebrews and the Book of Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1926, 1981) 208.
14. “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:33 ESV).
15. Mark 13:33.
16. Charles Wesley and Henry T. Smart, “Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending,” 1758, Hymnary, 9 March 2021 https://hymnary.org/text/lo_he_comes_with_clouds_descending_once.
17. Wesley and Smart.