“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” (Isaiah 9:2, ESV)
Have you looked at the news recently? What do you see? Death? Destruction? Bickering? Belittlement? How does the news make you feel? Sad? Frustrated? We are bombarded with news all day everyday. Often it is the same news repeated over and over…and over and over, until we are sick and tired of hearing about it! This news is depressing and bad for our mental health. When was the last time we heard good news?!
Over 2,000 years ago, the world was much the same. The same news, the same village gossip, repeated over and over until someone brought something different to talk about. For the Jews, no doubt, the talk was of Rome. For Jews did not live free, but under the rule of the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus. And in their talk of the repressive and controlling regime, their talk would eventually turn to talk of hope.
While not discussed everyday, it is - or should - often be in the minds of Christians: Christ’s return. Similarly, 2,000 years ago, the Jews would dwell on the thought, the hope of the promised Messiah! It was thought that the Messiah would be a great warrior, lead an army to wipe out the Romans, and bring salvation and peace. They were thinking in earthly terms, not spiritual. Are we?
The celebration of Advent in the weeks leading up to Christmas, is a time to travel back, experience the feelings and emotions of the Jews. Today, we experience many of the same feelings and emotions that the Jews felt awaiting their promised Messiah, just as we await the return of Christ.
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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5, ESV)
While the Jews wait in hope of the coming Messiah, we wait in hope of His return. There is not doubt of His return, rather our hope is living! It comes from the sacrifice He has already made. We have hope because we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior! We have hope in our knowledge that we will one day be with Him for eternity!
But we often try to take too much upon ourselves when we do not need to, especially during the busy holiday season! This week take time to meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon the Hope of Advent. Remember to place your hope in the Lord! Give over your fears, anxiety, and stress to Lord and place your hope in Him!