Sunday, November 27, 2016

Advent Reflections - November 27


“The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants,
until the coming of the one to whom it belongs,
the one whom all nations will honor.”

 Genesis 49:10 


Journey. Life is full of journeys. Some require great distance and endurance, while others are quite short in duration; ending before we've realized that they've begun. Some journeys are meant to be taken alone; proceeding in isolation. And some are meant to be shared with others; in community and in the company of others. 

Today we begin a journey together. A journey based on beginnings, but also a journey enveloped in hope fulfilled. As we read these words from Genesis, we see that from the very beginning of time, God was breathing the seeds of hope into the world. This truth came to fruition in the story of Christmas and encourages us even today, thousands of years later. As we light the first candle of Advent, we are reminded that for followers of Jesus Christ, hope stands as one of the true essentials of faith.

Let's face it. We live in a time when hope is not always easy to cling to. Our world is unstable and the future is uncertain. Whether it's the threat of war, political instability, racial injustice, terrorism, disease, financial crisis, natural disasters or rumors of the world coming to an end, we seem to be consumed with cultural influences that inspire anything but hope. When troubles and discouragements seem to multiply each day, it becomes easy to lose our way. Hope can seem to be pointless and unrealistic. Some may say that hope is just an idealistic fantasy in the world in which we live.  
But the season of Advent is about Hope; hope in a God that joined humanity, lived among us in the discouragements of life and meets us even in the most minuscule details of our days. It’s the same hope that the people of Israel had over 2000 years ago. A hope in a savior that “all nations will honor”, and was fulfilled in Christ coming into the world. It’s the same hope that he will one day come again.

 So as we begin this journey of Advent together, let us focus our minds on this hope filled truth: God came into the world to live among us. And despite the chaos and turmoil that surround us, he chooses to remain. 
Emmanuel, God with us!  


God, as we begin this journey of Advent together, let our hearts be renewed with hope; the same hope that your children had over 2000 years ago, and the same hope that we have that you will one day come again. In the silence of this time, calm our hearts and minds. Help us to hold onto hope during this Christmas Season.