My favorite tea (not coffee) mug has the words, “my heart is slouched towards hope.” I added that sticker in a season where hope ran thin, where I needed to be reminded that even when circumstances say the opposite, that because of Jesus my heart can still be steadfast in hope.
Hi friends, this is Rachal and I’m glad to join you today as we wrap up our first week of Advent. As we’ve considered the theme of Hope, I wonder if, no matter what is going on around you, you've been able to still your heart and be anchored in hope, or at least slouched towards it?
What does the opposite look like, when our hearts are not bent towards hope? Hopelessness can take many forms: it can manifest as despair, or desperation, it can look like complacency and resignation, or bitterness and anger. I’m guessing you, like me, have been in situations that feel impossible, where despair and desperation are close, unwanted companions.
So, what is this hope that Advent offers, that we celebrate this season? Well, the short answer is that Jesus is the only hope of the world. So, as we prepare to celebrate His birth, we remember this truth. It’s also a call to look back and remember God’s faithfulness, to see that hope in Jesus holds. And it’s a time to look at our own lives and see if there are places other than Him where we are placing our hope. Advent reminds us to pull back our hope to Jesus, our rescuer and redeemer.
In the Jesus Storybook Bible (by Sally Lloyd-Jones, pg 147), the prophecy of Isaiah Chapter 9 is stated like this: You’ve been stumbling around, like people in a dark room. But into the darkness, a bright Light will shine! It will chase away all the shadows, like sunshine. A little baby will be born. A Royal Son. His name will be Emmanuel, which means, “God has come to live with us.” Yes, Someone is going to come and rescue you! But he won’t be who anyone expects.
The words we read in Isaiah today (Isaiah 9:1-7) were written to God’s people as a promise. Yet, they would only see shadows of the promise fulfilled until almost 700 years later with the birth of Jesus.
For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, CSB)
Matthew 1:18 (CSB) states: The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way:
This, as the Christmas carol details, is the thrill of hope and the weary world rejoices, it is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till he (Jesus) appeared and the soul felt its worth.
The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
We have hope no matter what because God keeps his promises. God has not failed us in the past. We can trust Him. If you find yourself weary, may this be a kind reminder that we have hope in Jesus, always, may your heart slouch towards Him this day.
Jesus, You are the long-awaited King. You are the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. In You alone we have hope. We look back and see your faithfulness, and we choose to trust you with our current circumstances. Even now show us where our hope is misplaced; we turn to You. Thank you, we rejoice in You. Amen