READ: Jeremiah 33:1-16; Luke 1:46-56
- Advent begins this week. We anticipate the celebration of the coming of Christ by orienting our thinking around what God is doing through the Incarnate Son. Five candles represent 5 key themes: hope, peace, joy and love. The fifth candle is lit in honor of Christ on Christmas Day. We’re going to tie Enough to Advent by recognizing that “We’ve had enough: despair, anxiety, mourning and hate.”
- In the midst of the despair of exile, God promises hope. Israel had been dragged off to Babylon where they would spend 70 years in captivity. It was a time that seemed utterly hopeless and devoid of God. In fact, many of the images in the prophet Ezekiel are just that—images of God leaving Israel. Yet, there is the promise of hope. There will come a day when despair ends.
- That day, Luke says, is when Jesus arrives. He will restore the fortunes of God’s people (don’t think finances). He will give them their rightful place in God’s presence and in God’s purpose. There is no greater promise than that. Looking forward to that day is Hope; it is the end of despair. Sometimes that’s what we need. We need a glimmer of hope on the horizon to help us look past the dense fog of despair that currently surrounds us.
- Describe your current situation. Is it dark with despair or bright with hope?
- How does the promise of God for eternal redemption, freedom from guilt and shame, affect the despair in your life?
- The first coming of Jesus did not end all the despair. How will the final coming complete the task?
PRAY: Thank God for always providing hope. Pray that you can survive the season of despair and gain at least a glimmer of a hopeful future. Ask God to move you forward in relationship to Him.