Advent 2011: 1.3 — Hope-FULL

Throughout this Advent season, my goal is to take each of the four Lectionary readings for each week and write a meditation about each one. Largely my motivation for this is simply that I love the season of Advent, yet there’s also a little bit of hoping that by blogging through this season, I can use it as a means to grieve the recent passing of my Dad.

WEEK 1: A reading from Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

I always thank God for you. I thank him because of the grace he has given to you who belong to Christ Jesus. You have been blessed in every way because of him. All your teaching of the truth is better. Your understanding of it is more complete. Our witness about Christ has been proved to be true in you.

There is no gift of the Holy Spirit that you don’t have. You are full of hope as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to come again. God will keep you strong to the very end. Then you will be without blame on the day our Lord Jesus Christ returns.

God is faithful. He has chosen you to share life with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

— 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 (NIRV)

Hope (noun) – a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; a feeling of trust.

What a beautifully loaded word.

Paul, in writing to the church at Corinth, identifies them as “full of hope.”

Full of hope.

To the brim.

Expecting something big to happen. Full of trust that what they are expecting to happen will indeed happen.

On Sunday of this week, we lit the first of the Advent candles. The Candle of Hope.

Paul’s language is full of the language of a hope fulfilled. Notice:

  • God WILL keep you…
  • You WILL be without blame…
  • God IS faithful…
  • He HAS chosen you…

As we travel through the journey of life, we often find ourselves at places that seem devoid of hope. Places that seem to scream: “GOD ISN’T HERE.” Places that feel as if we have been left alone to fend for ourselves.

Yet, we in those times of darkness, we light the candle of Hope. We light the candle of expectation.

Consider Paul’s words again.

First, he prays that God, our Father, and the Messiah — Immanuel — may grant us grace and peace.

Peace.

In our darkness. In our void. In our lonliness. May God grant peace.

Second, in the gift of grace, we find blessing. We find truth. We find a solid witness to the graciousness of God.

Even in the bleakest of moments, God has granted us his grace. God has granted us his peace. Out of that grace and peace, we form a testimony. A testimony of Hope.

Finally, Paul shows us that because we are full of Hope — full of expectancy — God will keep us strong. As we wait on the Messiah to come, we wait with hearts full of Hope. Hope founded in the grace and peace of our Lord. Hope that we know will be fulfilled.

We find hope coupled with faith in another Scripture.

Hebrews 11:1 — Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see. (NIRV)

Because “God is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:9), we can hope with surety that Messiah will come.

Our hope-full waiting is punctuated by Immanuel.

  • God has chosen us.
  • God is faithful to us.
  • God will keep us.
  • God is with us.

Remain Hope-FULL in your waiting for the fulfillment of faith.

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