The Coming of Grace: Hope

Welcome to our Advent series The Coming of Grace.  Over the next four weeks we will share with you the sights and sounds of the Advent season.  Feel free to enjoy the pictures, music, words and thoughts below as you desire.  This week we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, Hope.

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Reflect on this image...

                         What comes to mind?

Scripture: Jeremiah 33: 14-16

14 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 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. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

Devotional by Rev. Dr. John Miller

I look forward to Christmas celebrations every year. As a child, I eagerly anticipated receiving gifts. As an adult, I eagerly anticipate time spent with loved ones, delicious food, and time to relax and reflect, and perhaps a thoughtful gift. I make it a priority to not get caught up in too much activity that will add stress to life, but too often heartache stresses my outlook. I desire to approach this season at a comfortable pace, but too often I’m not successful, and I become overwhelmed. But there is HOPE. In Jeremiah’s day, as he pens these words of our scripture text, his nation is in serious trouble. The Old Testament Law, written centuries before this time, clearly describes the expectations of blessings for obedience and, unfortunately, the curses for disobedience. Yet, in the midst of this worldview, there is a promise for a better day. God’s promises are true. They do not get forgotten or mislaid by God. There is HOPE. Hebrews chapter 11 gives us an overview of this hope. In rapid succession, we are reminded of those who were faithful to believe the things that were promised; they had hope for a better day. By faith Able, by faith Enoch, by faith Noah, by faith Abraham, by faith Sarah, by faith Jacob… and on it goes. They held onto God’s promises. They had HOPE. Like Jeremiah, in our 33:14-15 text, he boldly pronounces that the only hope we have is in the unchangeable word of God. God says, “I will fulfill the promise I made.” God made the promise. God will fulfill his promise. Days go by. Years go by. Political conditions worsen. Cultural situations deteriorate. Social justice seems impossible. Righteousness appears corrupted. But there is HOPE. Hope is poetically expressed in the words of Charles Wesley’s Advent hymn above. Hope is fulfilled in the person of Jesus. It is not in politics, wealth, law, health, society, or even in church. Hope is found in Jesus. This is why we celebrate Advent. Our eyes are longing to see hope fulfilled; it is and it will be satisfied in Jesus.