2020 has been a very trying year. These are just a few things we have witnessed this year: Australian wildfires. President Trump is impeached and acquitted. Prince Harry quit the Royal Family. Assassination of Qassem Soleimani. Covid-19. Black Lives Matter protests and riots. Presidential Election with Joe Biden getting 80 million votes. Murder Hornets. Kobe Bryant’s death. Toilet Paper shortage. Ruth Bader Ginsberg died and Amy Coney Barrett replaced her on the Supreme Court. Also, do you remember the death of Mr. Peanut?
2020 has been a very trying year. We have lost friends and family. We are thankful to enter this season of Advent. The four Sundays preceding Christmas Day are referred to on the Christian calendar as Advent Sundays. They are set apart so that we may prepare our hearts for the day in which we had set aside to remember the virgin birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means arrival/coming. Even though it starts near the end of our calendar year, it is the start of the Christian calendar year. This is a time to remember and retell the story of how and why Jesus came to Earth. It is a joyful time of remembrance of the Shepherds, the Magi, the Angels, and most importantly, Jesus. Let us with one voice sing “Joy to the world! The Lord has come, let earth receive her king. Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing!”
Advent In what do you place your hope? Some people place their hope in a vaccine. Some are placing their hope in Joe Biden or Amy Coney Barret or in someone or something else. In what do you place your hope? Over 2000 years ago everything changed. It changed because “God sent His one and only Son so that all who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus, the Son of God, would live a perfectly righteous life and give up His life in order to save people from their sins. We celebrate Christmas because we rejoice that Jesus Christ is born. In our sermon this Advent season, we shall consider the hope that Jesus Christ brings us.
Hope Against Despair
Advent is a reminder that Jesus brings us hope. It is vital that we understand that Biblical hope is different than what we normally mean when we speak of hope. In our day and age, we normally use hope in the sense of “blind optimism” or “a wishful desire” for something to happen. For example, I hope that you have a good day. I am not confident you will have a good day, but I express a desire that your day would be good. True hope does not disappoint because it is revealed by God’s love (Rom 5:5). Worldly hope cannot fight against despair, only hope grounded in God can.
Hope is Confident Expectation
Real hope is a confident expectation that God is faithful to keep His promises. It is not wishful thinking or blind optimism. It is not constrained by mere chance or luck. True hope is based on God’s faithfulness. True hope requires faith. We must have faithful trust that God will deliver us and provide for us. Because of this, Christians have hope. While we may feel helpless; Christians are never hopeless. Christians believe that Jesus is the only Savior and Lord and that He is working and interceding for them. Christians also long for the day when Jesus will return. The Second Advent is coming at the appointed hour and we confidently wait. Our confidence is demonstrated in thoughts, words, and our actions.
Hope Brings Joy
Advent is a reminder that despite what may happen, we can rejoice in hope because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Romans 5:2 says, “Through [Jesus] we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” The reason we often struggle with being joyful is because we are looking for it in other people and/or in stuff. Let us place our hope in Jesus.
Hope in Jesus Christ
1 Timothy 4:10 reminds us: “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” Where your hope is set? Is your hope resting in a bank account? If so, beware; bank accounts can quickly empty. Is your hope resting on a car/boat/house, etc.? If so, beware; physical objects can break or be stolen easily. Is your hope resting on a particular person? If so, beware; people can disappoint and hurt. Is your hope resting on Jesus Christ? If it is, you are blessed. Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb 13:5). If we set our hope on the living God, we can have true and lasting hope. Jesus is our blessed hope that satisfies our every need.
Where is our hope? Let us embrace our blessed hope: Jesus Christ. Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? If you are not a Christian, admit that you are a sinner and repent of your sin. Believe that Jesus is God’s Son who died to bring forgiveness for your sin. Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Be freed from the bondage of sin and find true and lasting hope.