This Sunday, December 2 is the first Sunday of Advent, as we begin to prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas day. The first Sunday of Advent focuses on the hope that comes from the announcement of Christ’s birth and the expectation of His certain return.
Please read the following passages of Scripture in preparation for worship on Sunday morning; Luke 1:26-38 and 46-55, Genesis 22:16-18, Matthew 1:1-17, and Isaiah 9:2-7.
As I was pondering Advent and Christmas yesterday and the themes we will be focusing on the next four Sundays; Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace I was reminded of how these themes are tied to many areas of life including pregnancy, birth and child rearing. During the next few weeks I will be sharing personal stories of my experience as a father and how they connect with these themes, and to the story of the birth of Christ. I would encourage you to be thinking about how these themes are present in your daily lives, and in your memories and experiences.
In thinking about hope this week I was reminded of the hope, anticipation, and excitement Heidi and I experienced when she was pregnant with Samuel. He is our first born and we, or maybe I need to say I had no idea what to expect, except for that a baby was coming and that Heidi and I were being entrusted with the responsibility of raising him. After nine months, Samuel was born and all of that hope and anticipation came to fruition, and in a very good way life has never been the same.
At the time of Jesus’ birth the Jews had hope in a coming Messiah, and we today have the hope of His return. The Jews knew the Messiah would come and some realized him to be the person connected to their expectant hope, while others missed the boat completely. We have hope in the return of Jesus Christ, we know it will happen, but we just don’t know when. Our job is to be ready for that return so that we can be sure of our place for eternity.
Some questions for us to consider this week:
Do we live our lives in a manner worthy of the hope of Christ Jesus?
Do we live our lives in a state of expectant hope in anticipation of the return of Jesus?
What illustrations or examples from our own lives help us to understand hope?