ADVENT CONNECTIONS: HOPE

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 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah,  out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.   Micah 5:2

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.    Romans 15:13

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.             Psalms 31:24

 

Last Sunday marked the end of the church calendar year.  We celebrated Christ the King, our holy, just, powerful, ruler supreme over all the nations.  A new year starts today as we enter the Advent season.  We go back to the beginning again, and wait with hope and anticipation for Christ.  We remember the promises of God from ancient times and long for our King to come to us . . . to enter our broken world, to make his home among us.  And we wait with HOPE.

Yet the transition for last Sunday to this one is not without its challenges.  If we had our way we would live all year round on Christ the King Sunday.  Revelling in the wonder of his power, glory and dominion over all things and all people.  This is the kind of God who can take charge.  A King who can break in and fix the broken places, the broken systems, the broken people.  But as we enter Advent,  it is as though our Father gently says to us, “I know you understand I have power and glory and dominion as the King of Kings.  You need to also know that I am gentle and humble, that in weakness I am strong and in defeat I can bring victory.  I will send my Son to show you the kind of King I am.  Watch and wait for me to come to you.”

Recently I have been considering what it means to wait with HOPE.  What does HOPE mean in the context of our real lives as we call out to God to intervene?  What is HOPE as we journey through life, along paths that are often marked with pain, disappointment and sorrow?  I think a good part of the answer to that question lies what it is we are hoping for.  Are we hoping for a particular outcome, a specific answer, a prescribed situation?  Or are we hoping to meet God, to experience his presence, to receive his grace?  The outcome we want may come, or it may not, but we can be certain that in all things our God is with us. 

At the first Advent of Jesus, many did not recognize him.  He was not what they expected.   He was vulnerable, ordinary–without power or status, living among the same oppression and frustration that plagued their lives.  Yet he was the Son of God, the promised One.  Jesus broke into time and space as a helpless human child and .All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).  Matthew 1:23

This Advent season keep watch for the coming of your God.  He longs to step into your real life and walk with you.  He is Immanuel, God with us.  Watch with HOPE; he comes.  

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.     Romans 5:5

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we pray that in the midst of all things we ask of you, we will remember that your presence is your greatest gift to us  We marvel that you came into this world as a child and that you come into our very lives.  As you walk with us by your Spirit, give us grace to see our lives in the hands of our gentle and loving Saviour  Help us to walk together in hope as your children.  Amen

Take time to reflect on…

O Come, O Come Emmanuel  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPfdD3pBUig

Week 1 Scripture http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-pZYNv8pRQ&feature=related  

My Goal is God Himself , lyrics found at http://www.crossroad.to/Victory/poems/my_goal.htm

 

Contributed by Pastor Carla Olsen Draper

 

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