Sunday, December 1st, was the first Sunday in Advent 2019.
Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Birth of Jesus at Christmas (The First Coming) and the return of Jesus. (The Second Coming)
The term is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming." (www.Google.com) The Advent Season lasts for four Sundays. Traditionally, a wreath holds five candles: three purple, one pink, and one white. A candle is lit on each Sunday and on Christmas Day. Even though there may be some variations in the practice, in our church, on the first and second Sundays, the first two purple candles are lit for Hope and Faith; the third Sunday, the pink candle is lit for Joy; the fourth Sunday, the purple candle is lit for Peace, and on Christmas day, the white candle is lit. As we reflect on the first Sunday, our emphasis is on Hope. I will focus on several Scriptures: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23); “All things will work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28); “ And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) (www.biblestudytools.com/philippians/4-19.html}
How can we have hope in the society we’re living in today? If you’re asking that question, you’re not alone. What we’re seeing in the world today is absolutely heartbreaking; what many are experiencing personally is heartbreaking, but I want you to know, we can still have hope. Christians don’t draw our hope from what’s happening in society, our hope is based on the promises found in the word of God.
So many things are happening: killings, kidnappings, robberies, school shootings, church shootings, natural disasters, homelessness, decline in Church attendance, political degradation, and the list goes on. But, as the hymn writer said, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.”
We’re encouraged to hold steadfastly to the hope that we say we have in God, because God is faithful to deliver every promise He has made. He has promised that, whatever happens in the life of those who love Him and who has been born again and called into a purpose alongside God, to work with Him in building up the Body of Jesus and extending the Kingdom of God, will work to our good. We might not be able to understand how certain things will work to the good for anyone, but through suffering, perseverance, and the infusion of Christian/spiritual character we develop hope, and hope in God never makes us ashamed. God has assured us that He will supply all our needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. Of course the things that are happening in the world around us and to us will concern us, however our hope is in the Lord God’s promises. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. We can feel safe and secure in God’s love because it is everlasting and it never disappoints. How can we stay mindful in hope?
Rely on God’s presence in our life. If we are Disciples of Christ, He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. When we are born again, we become children of God. (John 1:12) When we receive the Holy Spirit, He lives in us. (John 14:16-17) Therefore, the Lord will always be with us, regardless of what is going on in our life.
Rely on God’s provision. God has promised to supply all our needs, not according to our provisions, but according to His riches. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Everything we have, in one way or another, is by the hands of God. God will also provide our emotional peace. Of course we will have our concerns in the tragedies happening around us and in our own lives, however God has promised to supply a peace that surpasses all understanding to those whose mind is stayed on Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) He encourages us not to be anxious about anything but in everything to pray to Him and be thankful. (Philippians 4:6)
Rely on God’s Promises. As I foresaid, He has promised that whatever happens will work for the good for those who’re in the will of God, according to Romans 8:28. We can’t understand how some things can ever work for good, however our hope is built on the promises of God and God cannot lie. I personally look back into my past and realize that some of my greatest pain resulted in my greatest joy.