Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (NIV)
During the Advent season, as we journey towards the manger, and as we light the first candle on our Advent wreath, let us journey with hope.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews describes faith by saying that it is "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see". So it begs the question: "What do we hope for?" Maybe a new car, a nice home, good health for our family and friends, job security — are these some of the things that we hope for? These may be some of the things that we hope for if we live in Canada or the United States, but what are the hopes of people who live in other parts of the world? Maybe they hope for clean water, food and medicine for the family, warmth, or the absence of gunfire or violence?
During the time of Jesus' birth, the Jewish people had a hope, a dream, a prophecy: that one day God would send the Messiah, the promised One, the Prince of Peace. The Jewish people believed that since they were the chosen people, God would intervene in history and they would become "masters of the world and lords of all the nations". This was their hope!
Today, as we venture towards the manger and think of our hope, what do we see? Is Jesus the Son of God, the promised one, the Messiah? What does Jesus' birth mean to us as we enter the year 2000? Can we join together with hymn writer Edward Mote and say, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness"? If we can declare our hope is in the manger, we will see the shadow of the cross there in the manger. We will see the great gift that God gave to each of us in His Son.
Come to the manger! Come and see — with hope!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we come to you again to see with fresh eyes the hope that you bring us as we journey towards the manger. Open our eyes, Lord, to this amazing gift, the gift of Yourself for us! May our journey during this Advent Season draw us closer to You. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.