Romans 15:13 (Message)
Oh! May the God of hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!
Under normal circumstances or B.T.P.H. (before the plague hit) we would have lit the first candle of the Advent Season, the “Candle of Hope” last Sunday. This candle reminds us that the incarnation (Christmas Event) is the ultimate symbol of hope for humanity. This hope, however, is not just a symbol, but a person, and not just any person, but Jesus Christ, the unique One, fully divine and fully human.
When God decided the time was right to send his Son he did so when humanity was at its lowest ebb. Most of the world was enslaved under Rome’s brutal domination with its band of egomaniacal emperors. The world’s economy was in shambles as taxation was roughly 85-90% (got to figure out how to finance all those wars and nice roads). Mortality rate for children was around 50%. Poor distribution of essential food stuffs and clean potable water not only perpetuated a continual health crisis but also capped off life expectancy at 35 AND was a constant source of rebellion both within and outside of the borders of the Empire. I could go on but let me sum up by saying, by the time the 1st century rolled around world civilization was a train wreck in a dumpster fire serenely heading into an endless abyss.
Galatians 4:4 tells us the God of ALL Hope sent Jesus, “at the perfect time.” Why was a deteriorating world the perfect time for the 1st Advent? Well, there are many views but my own non-scholarly one is that the world was on its last legs and God knew that. So he sent Jesus to not only save us but to also physically reminds us that ultimate hope is, was, and always will be found in him.
After nine months of pandemic, civil and political unrest, economic uncertainty (and pain) it’s pretty fair to say that we can all use a good heaping of hope these days. One that will never disappoint and infuse our souls with joy, energy, and peace. Take a few moments today and lean into “God of Hope” and I guarantee you will have it.