“1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we a have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through 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. 3Not only so, but we also glory in
our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance,
character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has
been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:1 – 5
What a year this has been! Now, as the temperatures cool and the sun slides further South, darkness comes more coldly and quickly to us. In what has already been a hard ‘dark’ time for our world, winter is quickly approaching. We enter this Advent season in distress and despair, but we have something more as well.
In this first week of Advent we light the candle of hope. Hope, for a future that we cannot yet see. As Paul writes in Romans, our hope does not come from within us. It comes through our Redeemer and Lord.
We have been justified, through the blood of the Lamb. It is through His sacrifice that we are now new creations. Even in the darkness that surrounds our days, there is light from the Source of All Things. We are granted peace with God. Peace, not like the world understands it, but an enduring, comforting warmth that floods our soul and helps us through these worrisome times.
Like the disciples of old, we can rejoice in the darkness. We can sing out in songs of praise and worship. For the glory of the Lord has been shed upon us and is living within us.
Our hope is built from where we have been and what we have experienced. Our hope comes from being in the darkness and shadow of death and knowing that our God is in charge and His kingdom is at hand. We persevere through the challenges of our day so that our character will be refined and sharpened, and hope will grow stronger with each passing moment.
And we do not hope in vain. For our God is a Promise Keeper. Jesus Christ is coming. In a few short weeks we will celebrate the birth of the true King. He has come and done the work for the Kingdom of God to begin.
We now wait in anticipation. Although our wait is much different than that of our ancestors, who were under persecution unlike any we have experienced, we are anxious. Yet, the Spirit of the Lord is with us and in this day and the next day and the many days yet to come, He will guide us through hope to the building of God’s kingdom.
Let us overcome our anxieties and use them to spur us on to reach out to our neighbors, the poor, the hungry, the overwhelmed, and shine the light of hope on them. In this way let us share the love of Christ to our beleaguered world, so that they too may find hope that never shames us.
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