Hope! The First Sunday of Advent 2012

Hey my friends,

It’s that time of year again, time for my traditional Advent devotions. I have received many posts and emails wondering if I am doing them again and the answer is YES. I am honored to know these devotions are helpful and even useful to you and your family.

This year I am about the Advent candles. The candles are symbols of what we want to focus on each Sunday during Advent. I like candles. Candles have a great ability to change the mood of any room and atmosphere.

The candle for the first Sunday of Advent – Hope!

photo credit: mtsofan via photopin cc

How many times do we say the word hope in any given day? Phrases like “we’re hoping it works out, I have hope, and I put my hope in this or that”? We even have seen it in slogans like “Hope and Change” or “The Year of Hope.” Sometimes it’s just the line that says “I hope so.”

I wonder if hope becomes more like wishing.

I’m going to wish upon a star. I hope I win the lottery. I hope I pass this math test; I hope he asks me on a date; I hope she will say yes.

Does wishing take away the power of hope?

Webster defines hope this way:
1. to desire with expectation of obtainment.
2: to expect with confidence. 

 The archaic definition is to trust or put confidence in.

This sounds less like a wish and more like an expectation in something that is founded; perhaps an assurance in something that is proven or shown itself to be evident.

If we look at it like this, doesn’t it change where we put our hope?

The first candle for the Advent season is purple.

As you know, I am a devoted Minnesota Viking fan. Vikings are known for the color purple.  As a fan I hope one day they will win a Super Bowl. It’s what makes being a fan fun. But that’s not a life of hope; it’s a life of wishing. Remember, hope is assurance of something that has shown itself to be evident… perhaps not the Vikings. Ahhh, it’s just a fan thing, I think.

Throughout the Old Testament, the people of Israel heard about a King who would be the King of kings and Lord of lords! He would be the Messiah who would set all captives free. In Isaiah 11:10 it says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in Him.” For hundreds of years they put their hope in God’s promise that He would send this Prince of Peace for their freedom! They hoped He would come.

It wasn’t wishing. It wasn’t guessing. It wasn’t a lottery.

It was real hope.

It wasn’t the hope of the Israelites that made it happen. It was Whom they put their hope in that made the difference.

God has given us a promise of what we can obtain, of what we can expect with confidence, of what the Israelites could expect with confidence. God Himself has proven that He comes through with His promises.

God did come through like He always does.

This is a great place to start this Advent season.

What or who do you put your hope in?

I mean your life hope. Hope for your children, maybe how they will grow up. Hope for how you will live each day at school, maybe hope for who holds your future and dreams?

I can only answer these questions with Scripture…

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” (Romans 15:13).

This first week of Advent, take the time to look at what or whom you are putting your hope in.

Let me know your thoughts.

God is good all the time!

Peder