• Beth Hildebrand

An Advent Revelation During A Pandemic

This is an Advent season like no other.

Never has there been a Christmas season where this entire globe we live on was at war against a minute germ that caused a worldwide pandemic.

And I’m tired of hearing these words: pandemic, tests, wear a mask, COVID, quarantine, wear a mask, new cases, canceled, online learning, mandates, and did I include wear a mask?

We’re grieving that traditions must be broken. We’re heartbroken not being able to fellowship with the people close to our hearts face to face. We’re frustrated with almost everything because our patience is very thin. We’re mourning the loss of peace in this world at the end of a year seized by physical and verbal riots.

Many hearts, minds, bodies, and souls have become weary. Or am I the only one? I have a hunch I’m not.

This Advent season in my life, I’m clinging to Romans 15:13. It’s been one of my “life verses” for many years, but I don’t recall having read or recited it to myself particularly during the Advent season. I usually find myself reading prophecies of Jesus’ coming in the Old Testament like Isaiah 9, or John the Baptist preparing for Jesus’ arrival, or the story of Mary and Joseph, Mary and Elizabeth, the angels, shepherds and wise men.

This year though, thanks to this artist, who happens to be one of my favorites, unveiled her new collection of art titled “The Weary World Collection” She has created prints that read “Hope”, “Merry Christmas,” and even “the weary world rejoices”, to name a few. As I was scrolling down the screen admiring each piece of art, I think my mouth dropped open when I saw her work of art that included the words of my life verse!

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Not until this season have I noticed how these words that Paul wrote to the Romans, all in one sentence, are also the same words symbolized each Sunday in the liturgical Advent calendar in the churches I’ve attended and many others around the world for years and years:

Hope. Joy. Peace. Love.

Oh, how desperately we need those life-saving feelings, don’t we this 2020 Advent season?

Our hope in Christ allows us to experience peace.

The peace given to us by the Prince of Peace kills fear allowing us to experience joy.

And joy is contagious which is something I think everyone wants to be exposed to.

Each of those gifts of necessities – hope, peace, and joy – is wrapped up with Love. The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity with God (and Jesus) and God is love. (1 John 4:16).

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit – Love.

Our God of hope’s definition of hope is different from Webster’s definition which states that “hope is to want or desire something to happen or be true that is good”. But God’s definition of hope is when we expect, with confidence, for God to do something good in the future.

Did you notice the difference between desire and expect when it comes to hope? We expect because we believe, and trust God will do what He tells us in His promises in His love letter to us – the Bible. We must trust Him, Emmanuel – God with us – so we’ll overflow with hope.

That is the gift that God wants to give us, certainly this year – hope, joy, peace, and love. Those are priceless gifts. Because God gives you and me those gifts, then we in this weary world can still rejoice during the Christmas season and every day. In 1843, Placide Cappeau wrote one of the most beautiful lines in a Christmas poem which shortly thereafter became the Christmas carol O Holy Night: “…a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…”

Will you join me in choosing to live and rejoice with hope, joy, peace, and love in this weary world this month of December? We can do it because of the mighty power of the Holy Spirit that will overflow from us even when we least expect it, despite what’s going on in the world in which we live.

Friend, may the God of hope, give you all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Cling to our God of hope.

You are loved by Him.

He is all we really need.

Beth

#Hope #joy #peace

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