“Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)
The word "advent" is from the Latin adventus, meaning "an arrival." For centuries the children of Israel faithfully awaited the advent, the arrival of the promised Redeemer-Messiah. God first made the promise of a future Redeemer when man fell from grace in Eden. He cursed the serpent and promised that Satan's power over humanity would one day come to an end. Centuries later, the prophet Isaiah foretold a virgin from the House of David would bear the Davidic Messiah. In the winter of 3/2 BC, it was time for the arrival of the Redeemer-Messiah, promised since Adam and Eve's fall from grace, who would come to undo the work of Satan and redeem humanity.
Before the birth of Jesus, spiritual darkness pervaded the world because there was no revelation or instruction from God for 400 years. A sense of hopelessness ensnared the people of God as the tyranny of the Roman Empire wreaked havoc throughout the Ancient near east. The Israelites had been waiting for the Messiah for centuries. Their trust in God’s covenantal promises would soon be rewarded through the birth of Jesus.
The season of Advent—the four weeks leading up to Christmas—reaffirms our hope in God’s faithfulness and divine rescue plan for humanity. Whereas the world is seemingly engulfed with despair and hopelessness, our hope in God’s salvific plan should never wane. Advent is not only about renewing our hope, but it is also about trusting God when our blessings our delayed and our hope is weakening.
In today’s text, Isaiah teaches that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” It can be challenging to sustain hope during difficult times. Yet Advent reminds us to hope in God no matter our reality. Advent hope is about expecting God to keep His promises to us. It is refusing to surrender to the doom and gloom of life and looking for the light of Christ to shine in our lives when we are most desperate.
The hope that God will come to our rescue empowers us to weather our existential storms. Thus, Isaiah says that our hope in God renews our strength. Indeed, our strength can diminish with time and trial. But faith in God is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Advent hope emboldens our testimonies and gives us the courage to keep moving, serving, loving, and living when storms like the sea billows roll into our lives.
Those who are and have been waiting for God to transform their present reality can remain hopeful. Many brothers and sisters have given up on God and themselves because of their adverse conditions. Yet, I want to inspire them to have the audacity to hope when hopelessness abounds.
Just as Advent is a season of preparation for the coming of Christ, believers should always anticipate the presence of God in their lives and circumstances. For God is our present help, our deliver, and our Redeemer. Our hope is built on nothing else than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
Questions for Personal Reflection
Why should believers never lose hope?
How can Advent Hope help you persevere through your hardships?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for being the source of my hope. Please help me to have the audacity to hope when the darkness of this world tries to eclipse the light of Christ in my life. Prepare my heart for the joy and gladness of your coming, for Jesus is my hope. Amen.