Our Tuesday Devotion is written by Jesse Weeks - a member and servant leader at WindCity Church. Enjoy!
The first Sunday of Advent is the day we light the candle of Hope. As we walk spiritually to the lighting of that final candle, the Christ Candle, let's examine the Hope of Christmas.
In the secular world, hope is tied to wishes and desires for happiness associated with gifts, food, parties, Santa and other things related to the celebration of the season. "I hope my gifts are exactly what I want, and have receipts attached so I can return the ones I don't want"; "I hope the ham, turkey and all the trimmings taste good and don't give me indigestion"; I hope the office party is a bang and my bonus is huge"; "I hope everyone has a ball at our party and appreciates how much trouble it is to prepare and host"; "I hope Santa brings me everything I asked for" followed quickly with "I hope Santa doesn't check his 'naughty and nice' list!". All of these hopes often lead to disappointment and hurt feelings!
Webster's very secular definition of hope includes wanting something to happen or be true and think (wish) that it could happen or be true, without a foundation for that expectation. What a setup for a crash!
The "Hope" of Christmas for Christians comes with the birth of Jesus Christ and the promise that He was born to provide our salvation and with His crucifixion and resurrection guaranteed our place with Him in heaven.
1 Peter 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,"
We can go through Christmas with the assurance that His birth gives us "Hope" based on a foundation of His promise that His birth, life, death and resurrection were for our benefit as believers, and for all those that will confess and believe.
Hebrews 6:19 "We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,"
It makes it much easier to avoid the trappings of the world's celebration of the season, when we know our "Hope" goes far beyond gifts, food, parties, and Santa! Christians need not be anxious over anything connected to the celebration when our "Hope" comes from our hearts being full of Jesus Christ!
1 Peter 3:15 " But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"
Our "Hope" is defined perfectly in this excerpt from "The Experiment Hope". "To walk in hope, as a Christian, is not simply to be optimistic. Instead, it is to live with a sense of purpose, knowing that we walk in the presence of the living God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. With that sense of purpose, we can light the candle of Hope."
Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."
Our "Hope" is for now and forever!
1 Corinthians 15:19 "If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all a people most to be pitied."