The familiar wreath with purple and pink candles appeared in our church last week, calling us to a meaningful Christmas season. The flickering light of the flame will beckon us to remember and look forward as we approach Christmas Day. The season of Advent is here, bringing the hope of Christmas with it. The first week’s advent theme appropriately puts the focus on hope.
Hope in the biblical sense means looking ahead and forward to something God is doing. In the Old Testament, the Jewish people looked forward to the birth of Christ, His first coming, and for us New Testament believers, it means looking forward to Christ’s returning, His second coming. John Wiley put it so eloquently:
“Hope” is commonly used to mean a wish: its strength is the strength of the person’s desire. But in the Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.
– John Wiley
As we enter the Advent season leading up to Christmas, we are celebrating that our hope is in heaven. We can celebrate with confident expectation in the promise Jesus’ birth brought humankind. We have that hope because God set the plan in motion, beginning with creation, sending Jesus to be born here on earth and then die on the cross. His plan of hope is still unfolding for us, and today our hope is looking ahead to His second coming.
The hope of Advent begins with creation.
But the hope of Christmas all began with creation. Even from the pre-flood world, there are so many things that point to Christ and his coming to earth. All the events and people of the Bible are part of an overarching plan. The story points to Jesus’ birth and ultimately His second coming. The great men of old were given incredible insights even though they didn’t have the Bible. It is impressive to see it all unfold.
But, what a glorious thought! The first event unfolding the story of the hope of heaven was creation. But, Christmas is so much more than a baby and a beautiful isolated story. Because of His birth, Jesus made heaven available to us. Christmas is God’s gift of eternal life set in motion. He gave us a gift to teach us more about God and how to live, offer freedom from the rules and regulations of the Jewish religion and give us everlasting, eternal life in heaven.
Eternal life set God’s gift of Christmas in motion.
God’s elaborate plan of salvation, beginning in Genesis and continuing in the birth, life, and death of Jesus, is our hope of things to come. The works of God’s hand, nature, man, and animals, are all the proof we need. All creation sings God’s praise, for sure.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
David brings out an excellent point in Psalm 8. The Lord is majestic, and yet he cares for us and has set man as his objects of affection. The earth is but a tiny part of this world system, and we are minuscule, yet as David says, the Lord is mindful of us and cares for us. He created the world for us, sent his son to die for us, and pay the price for our sins. He is even now creating heaven where we will reign with him forever.
Remembering Jesus’ birth points us to the hope of heaven.
We find the hope of Christmas by remembering what God did in creation, tracing the story through Jesus’ birth, and looking ahead to His second coming. Regardless of how difficult this year has been, we need to get our focus off ourselves and on eternity. We will find the hope of Christmas precisely by remembering the past and looking ahead to the future. After all He has created and done for us, we can light the purple candle of hope, keep our eyes on heaven, and enjoy the flickering flame.
More in the Advent Series:
First week-Candle of Hope: How To Find The Hope Of Christmas Despite A Difficult Year
Second week- Candle of Peace: Are you longing for a gift of Peace that will set you free?
Third week- Candle of Joy: Is The Good News Of Great Joy Still Meaningful Today?
Fourth week- Candle of Love: How to Be Obedient to God’s Call Like Mary Was.
Fifth week- Candle of Christ: What is the difference between knowing about God and knowing God?