Christians should be the most hope-filled people on planet earth!
There… I said it!
If there is a group of people who have more reason than most to be hopeful it should be those who follow Jesus: and Advent is the perfect time to reflect on the reason for our hopefulness.
During Advent, we Christians not only look back and celebrate Jesus Incarnation… “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” as John’s Gospel put it… but we also look forward to His second coming, to that day when all things will be reconciled to Him (Col 1.19-20).
Though Jesus did not conform to many people’s expectations of the coming Messiah, God vindicated Jesus through His resurrection. That is why Christ’s resurrection (not the cross) is the linch-pin of our faith. It was in the resurrection that the coming Kingdom of God was inaugurated… the beginning of the new creation that God’s prophets had spoken of. It will be fully realized when Christ returns. In the meantime, we are not left sitting and twiddling our thumbs! We are called to proclaim this Kingdom… it is here already and it is still to come fully. We get to prophetically demonstrate the Kingdom now by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When you look around at the world we live in, are you filled with hope? Or does an impending sense of fear and gloom wash over you? My guess is that too many Christians and pre-Believers, alike, overdose on 24-hour news channels that bring us minute-by-minute stories of hopelessness. (In England the only good news on the bulletin used to be aired during the “and finally” section at the end of the broadcast!)
As a result of the global media and the rapid growth of social media, like never before in human history have we had so much exposure to bad news that we have little or no personal control over. With our exposure comes the added challenge of how we should show compassion and if we are not careful the constant presence of such news will erode our hopefulness.
Have you ever wondered, ‘Why do we not hear the good news broadcast? Why do we not hear proportionately equal amounts of hopefulness broadcast?’
But God. The truth is that God’s kingdom is still advancing.
The prophet Isaiah proclaimed that there would be no end to the increase of God’s government AND HIS PEACE (Isaiah 8.6). Despite what we hear or read to the contrary regarding horrific conflicts around the world (and, yes, they are truly horrific), God’s kingdom of peace continues to advance and our job is to get with His program and proclaim it and demonstrate it. We would do well during this Advent season to meditate on the implications of Jesus being the fulfillment of Isaiah’s promised “Prince of Peace”.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15.13
Reflection: How do you participate in sharing the hopefulness of Christ’s return? How does meditating on the good news of Jesus Christ bring you peace?