Untriumphantly: A People of Hope

This first week of Advent is the week of Hope!

Concerning love for the brothers we do not need to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other; and you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do it even more.

Also, make it your ambition to live quietly, to mind your own business and to earn your living by your own efforts — just as we told you. Then your daily life will gain the respect of outsiders, and you will not be dependent on anyone.

Now, brothers, we want you to know the truth about those who have died; otherwise, you might become sad the way other people do who have nothing to hope for. For since we believe that Yeshua died and rose again, we also believe that in the same way God, through Yeshua, will take with him those who have died. When we say this, we base it on the Lord’s own word: we who remain alive when the Lord comes will certainly not take precedence over those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord. So encourage each other with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-18 (CJB)

            This is a dark season. I’m not just talking about this year. In general, Decembers are dark. The days are short, the night is long. For many people, they begin to feel the effects of diminished vitamin D and seasonal depression can set in. Specific to this year, we may be missing some normalcy. We’re missing our trips, our shopping, and our parties. It’s just dark. It’s perfect for Advent. 

            Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical calendar. It is how we, as Christians, kick off our new year. That’s right! You don’t have to wait until January 1st to ring in the new year. It starts now. There is so much hope in a new year. We make New Year’s resolutions because we want to be better this year than we were in the last. This year, most people are excited to be leaving behind the dumpster fire that was 2020. We’re hopeful that this new year will bring with it something better. 

            But for Christians, this new year, this hope—it isn’t in what is around us. We’re not people with hope because of a vaccine, the government, or the media. I’m not saying we don’t care about and aren’t involved in those things; what I am saying is that is not where our hope lies. Our hope lies in Jesus. And during this season where we wait for His coming, our hope is in Emmanuel, God with us.

            I think it is funny that Paul gives us the secret to “the happy life”, as a youth once said to me. Live quietly, mind your own business, and earn a living with your own hands. We aren’t just milling about and getting through life because we are not a people without hope. We have hope. Jesus was born. Jesus died. Jesus was resurrected. That is why we have hope. We can encourage one another, knowing that we don’t have the grieve like the rest of the world. Our hope is in Jesus.

Today’s song: What A Year for A New Year by Dan Wilson

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