Today is the first Sunday of Advent for 2011.
In our frenetic, fast-food-paced culture, we tend to equate "hope" with such notions as "wishing," "positive attitude," and "uncertainty". People tend to make statements along the lines of: "I hope I pulled an A on my Physics test" or "I hope that everything will turn out okay" or "We'll just have to hope for the best."
Yet Biblical hope is not defined as mere wishful thinking for the best possible outcome, all while acknowledging we can never be certain of said outcome. Indeed, Biblical hope is grounded in the understanding that we have a knowledge of what has been promised and a certainty within our minds and hearts of that which will occur. Our task, therefore, is not to worry about whether or not that which we hope for will occur, but to properly work out our existence until our hope is eventually realized.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” - Gen 12:1-3 ESV
God promised Abram redemption, through blessing, not only to Abram's seed, but to all the families of the earth.
That which will occur
1 Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek. 2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. - Micah 5:1-2 ESV
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. - Isaiah 7:14 ESV
The event of the promise - the realization of the Hope - the long promised Messiah, the Christ. The God of Abraham, established in history, declares a Promise with which His followers place their trust - their hope - on.
images - © 2011 A. R. Lopez
Merry Christmas, and a Happy Advent!