Advent 2020

The First Sunday of Advent – Hope

(How to Use this Advent Devotion)

The title track of one of my favorite albums begins with this voice over:

“Where is the hope? I meet millions who tell me they feel demoralized by the decay around us. The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us, or what laws are passed, or what great things that we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people. And that’s where our hope is in this country. And that’s where our hope is in life.”

The album is “Heaven in the Real World” by Steven Curtis Chapman and it was released in 1995. The voice you hear is that of Charles “Chuck” Colson who was Richard Nixon’s White House Counsel and went to prison for his role in the Watergate Scandal. It is a bit disheartening to think that 25 years after the release of that album many of us might assume it was written today.

Read – Matthew 1:1-17

“Where is the hope? Where is the hope? Where is the hope?” In the track that first sentence is an echo. A haunting echo that is not immediately resolved. “Where is the hope? Where is the hope? Where is the hope?” If you just let it sit there for a second, it is disorienting, frightening, demoralizing. “Where is the hope? Where is the hope? Where is the hope?”
The hope is in that tongue twister that you just read. The family tree of Jesus. You might recognize some of the names, but let’s put labels on some of those names:
  • Doubter (Abraham)
  • Liar (Jacob)
  • Attempted Murderer (Judah)
  • Seductress (Tamar)
  • Rapist, Murderer, Adulterer (David)
  • Idolater (Solomon)
  • Pride (Uzziah)

“Where is the hope? Where is the hope? Where is the hope?” Remember that opening sentence from Chuck Colson?

“I meet millions who tell me they feel demoralized by the decay around us.”

That same decay can be seen in the direct lineage of Jesus. Some would look at this and see proof that it doesn’t matter to God where someone comes from, but I look at this and see proof that it mattered a great deal where Jesus came from to God. In a society where lineage was one of the most important attributes, God chose THAT lineage, generations in advance to do his greatest work.

We begin this Advent season together in a world that seems devoid of all hope. I challenge you to enter this season instead full of hope. Hope that the same God who chose a lineage of broken and sinful people to deliver his Son is still with us and has not forsaken us.

Sing – O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Pray

Almighty God, grant us in equal measure; Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. Hope in a Savior, Peace in our world, Joy in our hearts, and Love for our fellow man. In the name of Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate this Advent season, Amen.

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