Advent – Hope
Here we are for the fourth Sunday of advent celebrating Christmas and all that means to us. I hope that you were able to tune in last week, Emily preached a great message on joy. We’re going to be landing on Hope today. I wonder if hope is something that you’ve thought much about, it’s been the theme of our service today, there’s been a fair bit about it. I wonder what you’re hoping for, if you had to write a wishlist perhaps, that maybe includes plans for the future, what would you be writing down? What are you hoping for in your life in the future?
Perhaps at Christmas time, who are you hoping for? I’ve got my Father Christmas top on, we’re all hoping that Father Christmas turns up, or at least I certainly am, and brings us all those presents that we’re after. I was having a bit of a laugh, I discovered that not everyone refers to Father Christmas as Father Christmas. This might not be news to you but it’s news to me. I found this map that tells us all the different names that Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, has in different countries. I find it quite funny. All of this red, we’re in the red, Father Christmas, we know where we stand. I don’t exactly know where that is up there, I’m guessing that’s Iceland, it says Christmas Lads! This bit here, I’m not that great at Geography, I think Finland is one of these, it says Christmas Gnome! And in Russia here Grandfather Frost, that’s pretty good. Saint Basil down there (Greece) and the Christmas Goat (Finland). It changes everything doesn’t it if you’re writing your Christmas list to the Christmas goat.
What are you hoping for this Christmas? And who are you hoping for this Christmas? There’s the great verse:
In his name the nations will put their hope.Matthew 12:21 NIV
What a great verse, maybe you’ve not seen this verse before. I wonder who it’s talking about. Of course “in his name” is talking about the name of Jesus. Isn’t it brilliant that hope has a name and that name is Jesus. The name Jesus means rescuer or deliverer or saviour. Actually Jesus’ full name is Jesus Christ. Christ meaning messiah or anointed one. Who is it, whose name is it that the nations will put their hope, that you and I can put our hope in today? It’s Jesus Christ, our rescuer, our deliverer, the anointed one, the one who is authorised to rescue us. In his name the nations will put their hope.
What can you hope, what can I hope, what can we hope for Jesus to do? In the verse before this, some great words here:
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.Matthew 12:21 NIV
I love the way this is phrased, until he has brought justice through to victory, I can picture Jesus grabbing hold of justice and bringing it through, bringing justice through for us until it is evident, until it is winning, until justice is acting on our behalf. I wonder what justice means for you today? Justice, I think, means fairness, it means putting wrongs to rights and this is what we can hope for Jesus to do in our world. That he can put wrongs right. I think about my life, I love life and I love God has made me to be – but I’m also really aware of my fallen humanity. It feels like I’m carrying wrongs within me. I like the fact that in Jesus I can have this hope that He will work in me and he will put those wrongs to right.I can picture Jesus grabbing hold of justice and bringing it through, bringing justice through for us until it is evident, until it is winning, until justice is acting on our behalf. I wonder what justice means for you today? Click To Tweet
I can believe with you today that whatever you are facing, whatever wrongs you think you are coming up against, you can hope in Jesus this Christmas time that He will turn those wrongs into rights. He will bring justice through to victory on your behalf. That’s my hope for you, for me, for us this Christmas time. We’ve already heard in our service a great carol called O Little Town of Bethlehem. I don’t know if you spotted in the last couple of lines of the first verse, it reaffirms this thought of our hopes found in Him. It says “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight”. I love the fact that we have hopes and fears here. All those hopes that you have for life, for your future, for next year, for Christmas, you can bring those hopes to him. Even your worries and anxieties, your doubts and fears, also they can find a rest in Him. I love that our hopes and fears are met in Jesus. Wherever you are today, wherever you are tuning in from, Jesus is the hope of the world, this is our theme for this advent Sunday, hope. My prayer for you is that you will discover Jesus and the hope that He brings in a new way. If you get a chance over the next few days, dig out your bible and look at Matthew 12:20 to 21. These verses are actually about a prophecy about Jesus, it’s quoting Isaiah. “In his name the nations will put their hope.” God bless, if I don’t see you before Christmas, have a great Christmas and I’ll see you again in the new year.Our hopes and fears are met in Jesus. Jesus is the hope of the world and my prayer for you is that you will discover Jesus and the hope that He brings. Click To Tweet