Have you written your list for Christmas?
What are you hoping for? Is it a specific gift? Or is it an enjoyable time with friends and family? Maybe it’s decent TV? Maybe a time of peace in the house?
The Church has now entered Advent. This is a time of preparation, not really the physicality of putting the decorations up, and buying and wrapping the presents but more about preparing our hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus. After all, Jesus is the reason for the season.
Each week in advent focuses on different parts of that preparation, and this week we are focussing on hope. Saint Augustine said
“Christmas is fast approaching. And now that Christ has aroused our seasonal expectations, he’ll soon fulfill them all!”
Throughout the Old Testament promises are made about the saviour that will be coming, it is a collection of stories of hope. As Christians we are able to look back and see those promises fulfilled. If those promises can be fulfilled then we can have a certain hope that all promises from God will be fulfilled. This is not the same as hoping that we will get everything on our list, or that we will have a nice time with family over the holidays, this is a hope that gives us confidence and strength. In the Psalms it says
“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”
How do you feel when someone makes you a promise and they keep it? How do you feel next time they make you a promise? That is what it can be like for Christians all the time as they hope in God.
So how can we use this to help us prepare for Jesus? Remind yourself of the promises given by God… that’s what Jesus has come to fulfil.
Prayer Thank you God that you have kept preparing us for Jesus, and continue to prepare for his return. Help us to prepare our hearts and minds in this season to welcome the Lord. Amen
Challenge: take some time each day to find promises of God from the Old Testament and make a note of the hope they bring to you