Candles, Characters, & Carols II- Hope

The first candle of the Advent wreath represents hope. Spiritual hope is much more than wishful thinking. It is the “belief that God will accomplish what He has promised. Christian hope is based on the fact that God has always been faithful to do what He said He would do”. (The Student Bible Dictionary)

 

Think of a time you said ‘I hope’. Chances are you said this because the situation was out of your control. For example, I hope the Rockets make it to the playoffs. I am not able to jump in the game and win by my own skill. [ha!] I hope it rains tomorrow. My hope does not alter the weather patterns or probability of rain. I hope the newborn baby is healthy. I am not able to control for the millions of things that can go differently than expected. However, hoping can lead us to God by reminding us that we cannot control every outcome.

 

I seriously doubt The Wisemen knew what they were getting in to when they put hope in the star and followed it toward young Jesus, but they were faithful to the task. “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” [Matthew 2:9-11]

 

Herod tried to gain control of the situation by taking matters into his own hands. “Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”” [Matthew 2:7-8] ‘So that I too may go and worship him’ is apparently code for go and kill the threat, the ‘King of Israel’. Herod’s hope was in his own ability.

 

True hope is in God, an external yet internal source. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I believe that God’s presence, through the Holy Spirit, is in me as a spiritual connection. However, God in totality is much much bigger than that which is within me, what I have experienced, or that I can understand. God is larger than life and even bigger than Texas. True hope is in God by trusting that more is needed in situations needing hope than my own willpower, skills, intelligence, abilities, or connections. There is more.

 

Herod’s mistake was that he put hope in his own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6 says to “trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” The Wisemen put hope in the North Star, a provision of God Creator, to guide them.

 

Advent is a time of searching. Searching for the identity of Christ and the meaning of Jesus Christ in our own life. Where do you search? How do you search? Where is your hope?

 

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” [Matthew 7:7-8]

 

“O Come All Ye Faithful

Joyful and triumphant,

O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.

Come and behold Him,

Born the King of Angels;

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.”

-O Come, All Ye Faithful

 

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