It is the last Sunday of Advent. This week we are talking about how Jesus is our hope.
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Today we have all four candles lit for Advent. The celebration of Advent is the celebration of the first coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Christ child we take a moment each week to focus on what his appearance meant here on earth and for eternity.
The first candle is for faith. Jesus is our faith and in him, we put our faith. The second candle is for peace. Only in Christ can we truly experience peace. He came to bring peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind. Jesus is our peace. The third candle is lit for joy. The arrival of the long-awaited Messiah brought joy to the hearts of people. Today, we still can have his free gift of joy that can encompass our very being. Jesus is our joy. Today, we have lit the hope candle as we celebrate that Jesus is our hope.
The unlit candle is the Christ candle. This candle is traditionally lit on Christmas Eve. In our house, we light that candle and then read the Christmas story found in Luke chapter 2. We encourage you to do that on Christmas Eve, also.
Jesus Gives Us Hope
Jesus gives us hope. In him, we have a future. In him, we have purpose. Jesus is our hope. Everyone needs hope. Without hope, we find no purpose or reason for existing.
Have you ever heard a story of a person giving up hope? Maybe they received bad news and decided there was no way to weather the storm. Sometimes people give up hope when things do not go as planned. They had put all their efforts into a certain idea or plan and when it came crashing down they gave up.
There are many things or people we can put our hope in. Think of the movie where all efforts to save the world have come to an end but just at the last moment the one person who can do something about it shows up. This person becomes the only hope. All expectations of this individual coming through with the momentous task of saving the world rests on their shoulder.
Hope is to desire something with confidence and an expectation that it will be fulfilled. To put your hope into one thing or one person is making yourself vulnerable. You become vulnerable because of the possibility of being disappointed.
Maybe you can relate to this? Have you been the only individual with the correct answer to solve a pressing issue? Or maybe you were that person who people believed would come through but you were not so sure yourself. That is a lot of pressure.
When we put our hope in another person there is a 50/50 chance of failure. However, if we put our hope in Jesus, there is a 100% success rate.
Everyone Needs Hope
Everyone needs hope. We can be confident that when we put our hope in Jesus we will not be disappointed. Romans 5:1-2 says:
(1) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (2) through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Jesus brings hope. We hope because through him we have been justified through faith in salvation. We can be sure of our salvation with confident expectation when we trust in Jesus. He is faithful to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This Christ child who was born over 2000 years ago brought hope to a sinful, dying world. By accepting him as our Lord and Savior we have hope of eternal life. We have hope knowing that when we pass from this world we will be brought into the presence of God.
Revelation 21:3-4 says:
(3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (4) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
What a glorious day that will be! We understand that sometimes life is tough and it is difficult to keep on keeping on. We can keep from getting downcast by putting our hope in God.
Maintain Hope Through Jesus’ Promises
It is important to maintain the hope we have in Jesus when we are feeling discouraged or depressed. We can do this by holding onto his promises every day.
Remember what he has done for you and what he has promised to do for you.
- He has promised you that joy will come in the morning.
- He has promised you that in Him you are a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come.
- He has promised you that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
- He has promised you that he will never leave you or forsake you.
- He has promised you that he has given you victory.
- He has promised you that he who lives in you is greater than anything in the world.
So when you are facing tough times hold on to these promises. You can have confident expectation that all Jesus has promised will be fulfilled. This Christmas as you prepare your heart for the celebration of Christ’s birth, we would like to encourage you to spend time in God’s word.
We would like to encourage you to read the Christmas story this week as a family, small group, or on your own. If you have an advent wreath, this is when the Christ candle is lit. It is lit to welcome the newborn Messiah into the world who would reconcile us to God.
You can find the Christmas story in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. My favorite is Luke chapter 2. We pray that you will discover in a whole new way how in Jesus we have faith, peace, joy, and hope this Christmas season.
We leave you with Romans 15:13, which says:
(13) 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.