The season of Advent is all about the coming of hope into a dark time. Things were pretty grim back then around when Jesus was born. There was evil prevailing; injustice and oppression.
The people were hoping, praying, longing for the Messiah. The One who would bring deliverance, peace and hope. No one knew when He would come, or how He would come. They just knew He was coming. And they never let go of that hope.
And then, He came!
The song O Holy Night describes this too:
Long lay the world in sin and error, pining 'Til He appeared and the soul felt it's worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'
Isaiah 9:2 and also in Matthew 4:16 (NIV) says:
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
What a thrill to know that hope had come! A new day! A glorious morn'!
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5 (ESV)
My friends, it's been a looooong and difficult year. But for those of us who believe in a God who brings hope, joy, peace and love to us - no matter where we find ourselves - we can hold on to the promise that joy still comes in the morning.
Each day is a new day. A fresh start. And - a new year is coming too!
There is still so much uncertainty for the new year, but honestly, when do we really know what the future holds? Yet we press on, so we shouldn't treat this year any differently.
A thrill of hope!
Can you look beyond the circumstances of this world to anticipate what God is going to do next? Do you know that He is still working during this pandemic? It sure doesn't look like it most days but trust that things have been put in motion and God never stops working on his plan of redemption for all of us.
Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Keep your eyes upward, keep your mind and heart focused on Him. He won't leave us or forsake us. But take it one step further - can you get excited for what will come? Can you imagine all that will be accomplished in the coming year? The God who created the heavens and earth, is doing something amazing still? Can you feel it?
I pray that during this time we can all look beyond the circumstances and see God in all His splendour and might, and know that His plan will trump anything this world can throw at us. I pray that a thrill of hope is sparked in your hearts this Christmas. And I pray that it's contagious, because we all need a little more hope!
Merry Christmas! May you be blessed!