“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Advent is a time of preparation, as we prepare our homes, our menus, our gift-lists, and calendars for Christmas. More importantly, it is a season to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child. Advent traditionally follows four weekly themes: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Additionally, the tradition is to light a series of candles in observance of these special themes. With all the “hustle and bustle,” shopping, cooking, visiting, and cleaning, it is easy to lose sight of the true reason for the Christmas season. I would like to invite you to join me every day at “Deeper Roots” for a short devotional during the Advent season, which I hope, will help your keep your focus on the greatest Gift of all.
Our key verse is likely familiar as a standard during the Christmas season, for it foretells the hope of the Jewish people – and of all mankind, and it prophecies the coming of the Messiah on whom all hope rests. In the season of Advent, the first Sunday of Advent is traditionally focused on Hope and the prophetic promises of God.
For hundreds of years the Jews had waited and watched for the birth of this special child, as Isaiah had prophesied: “The Lord Himself will give you a sign. The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel” (Is. 7:14). The Jewish people had God’s promise, and their hope was founded on God’s faithfulness to keep His promises.
When hope was born, the Redemption of the world lay in a manger, surrounded by hay and the lowing of cattle. This Child, the fulfillment of God’s greatest promise, was the Hope, not just of the Jewish people, but of the whole world.
There is no greater reason for hope than to hope in the promises of the Lord. Why? “For no matter how many promises God has made they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
The nation of Israel looked forward in hope to a Messiah who they believed would free them from the rule of their enemies. Mankind today looks in hope for an end to poverty and disease and hatred. But the true enemy of all humanity is evil – evil wrought by Satan, the enemy of God and His creation. The Jewish people expected a military savior, and our world today looks for a political savior, but God sent to us exactly what we needed – a holy and perfect Savior who would save us from our sins, from death and from the wrath of God.
The Lord promised us Hope and Peace and Joy and Love – and He fulfilled every promise in His Son, Jesus Christ. The hope of all mankind came, not as a military conqueror, nor as a great political leader, but as a tiny and helpless baby – Jesus, the Child of Hope and Promise.
I hope you will join me every day during the Advent season as we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child. This first week of Advent will focus on the HOPE we have in the promises of God.
Holy Father, my hope is in You, in Your Word and Your promises, You are forever faithful. Thank you for this Christmas season, please prepare my heart for this special Gift of Hope. Amen.