Sunday, November 29, 2015

Anticipating Christ: Hope

The Advent season is upon us friends. Even in the midst of hours of craziness traffic to get back to the homestead, I couldn’t help but be excited about the Christmas season. I began playing Christmas music while Jeremy studied (I was driving during this phase of the journey) and dreamed of decorating our house. I believe holiday decorations quickly turn any house into a home. Earlier during our travel, I was writing for my curriculum job about the blind man who was given sight. Just like the blind man was given sight, I feel like the Lord has granted me fresh eyes and vision for this season - And I’m excited about it! Much of my posts for this series will unfold this fresh sight. Let’s get started, shall we? We have much to anticipate!

hope (n) - a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen

One of my favorite lines from the Christmas hymn “O Holy Night” is “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” I’m always challenged by this line as I poorly attempt to belt it out Celine Dion style. There is power in this line. There is deep conviction. There is encouragement.

While walking with Jeremy over the Thanksgiving break, I recounted to him how many of my holidays were spent dreaming and hoping of that “special guy” who would text me or make a feeble attempt at recognizing me over the holidays. The romanticism of the holidays were in full swing. And every year there was some guy who had caught my eye. My holidays, especially Christmas, would center around would he or would he not text me? That was me. That was where my hope was. I hoped and prayed those three magical words would pop up on my screen: Merry Christmas Erin!. It would signify several things: a) I’d crossed his mind. b) He personalized the message for me (hello ERIN) and c) I would just gush at the thought that I was being thought of. See where the hope was. I had this great feeling and expectation of that guy (again different one every year) would recognize me. My time with my family was centered on it. There was angst. There was questioning. And all I thought I wanted was a harmless text. My hope, friends, was in a measly text message over the Christmas break from some guy (any guy) who valued me enough to work it in to his Christmas morning to acknowledge me. There were some years the text would come, and many others where it came and went. My heart would be broken. Devastated even. And you know why? It was because my hope was in a picture/an expectation of what I thought would make my Christmas complete.

That hope was wrong. That hope wasn’t a thrill. It wasn’t lasting. It was hope deferred.

The true and lasting hope only come in Christ. There are so many times when I shortchange my hope and turn away from the greatest hope. I want the immediate hope fulfilled and yet time and again that comes up short. You know why? It’s because our Thrill of HOPE is only found complete in the recognition of Jesus (ahem not us). The world had been longing for their Savior; the promised One. They were waiting to be rescued from sin and taken to glory. What does this hope mean for us? It means that we have a promise of life beyond this wicked world. We have the promise and hope of eternity with Christ. We have the promise and hope of a new heaven and new earth. We have the promise and hope of the resurrection because of Jesus’ resurrection. We have this hope because as Peter said, “Where else can we go Lord?” 

Our hope is not to be found in a feeling; a boy; a job; a pay raise. Our hope, our expectations, is to be found in the One who has come. The One who has saved. The One who will return. 

Let us anticipate Christ with fresh eyes and sight just like the blind man in John 9. Let’s look to Christ as our only source of hope. Take this week and focus on hope. What does that mean to you? Where are you placing your hope? How can you focus more on Christ this holiday season?

“But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.” Psalm 71:14

As part of the series, my friend Amelia and I are joining forces. She has some great thing to share about hope too! Move on over to her post to read a little more. Take it away Amelia!

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