“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4–5
The season of Advent is known as a time of waiting, of expectation, the longing for the coming or arrival of a Savior. Nowadays, we celebrate that Christ has come. We know this, that he came long ago as a baby, born of a virgin, held closely in a manger. The savior of the world, a child.
Before that, though, creation waited in eager expectation. They waited with hope for the fulfillment of a promise that in all truth, they were fully aware that they might not live to see. Abraham was promised to be the father of many nations, and for most of his life, he was without children. When in doubt came a sky full of stars. “So shall your offspring be,” said the Lord. He remembered and more than that, he believed. When he held Isaac, he believed. He waited in hope knowing that there was more to come.
Isaac lived through that sacrifice. He witnessed the hope of his father displayed in that near-death experience, that unwavering trust he had in the Lord. He carried the legacy on his back, as he would sojourn in his land.
Jacob, years later, would come across this Lord in person, would hold him close, refusing to let him go. The Lord touched his hip and placed it out of socket. Even through the pain, Jacob wrestled on. “I will not let you go unless you bless me,” he said to Him, and He answered: “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” And overcame did Israel do– but only slowly, shakily, leaning heavily on a limp.
To Mary, came an angel. He came and he told of a promise fulfilled. All of creation led up to this moment. As Klint said in his sermon from Sunday, we hope differently on June 8th then we do on June 9th– we know that we are waiting now. There is powerful hope when you know that you are waiting. There is confident expectation in the hope that we should have. The day before the angel came to Mary the world was still longing, groaning. Now, a light had begun to shine. He was coming.
It was hope that kept these people close and held them through the night. Until the day their savior arrived, bringing forth that guiding light. Christ is coming back. It is on us to continue to wait, continue to exercise hope, knowing and rejoicing that His promises are true. He’s coming back, and He’s making all things new.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11–14
If you haven’t heard it yet, you can listen to the first sermon “Where is your hope?” from our Emmanuel series here.