This Sunday, here at Society, we kick off our newest teaching series called Prince of Peace. This advent teaching series, Prince of Peace, will explore how Jesus came to our world during a time of cultural confusion and how he still comes to bring clarity today. How he came to Israel during a time of political and racial division and he comes with his kingdom to bring peace today. He came to the least of society, and as the least of society and he still meets us there with his “good news of great joy for all people” today.
Advent Reflection: Week 1 – Hope
Something is coming. Not quite there yet. Still a degree of uncertainty and maybe some fear as well. But also hope. Hope of what is coming.
Advent is a season that is leading to something.
Expectation, hope and anticipation.
It is a pregnant season.
We might normally pick up the story of Jesus birth shortly before he is born.
But this story starts long before that.
Long before Mary found out that her life was going to change.
Long before Mary was Mary.
Israel was a people who were waiting. Who were longing for what they had been promised. Longing for what their God had promised them.
‘Look, days are coming,’ declares Yahweh, ‘and I will fulfill the good promise that I promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and in that time I will make a branch of righteousness sprout for David, and he will execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely, and this is what they shall call it: “Yahweh is our righteousness.”’
They were waiting. Expecting.
It wasn’t a short wait. The people of Israel waited generations for this. They had endured being conquered by several empires, and at the time of the arrival of Jesus they were living under Roman occupation.
Please return, O God of hosts.
Observe from heaven and see,
and pay attention to this vine,
even the stalk that your right had planted,
and concerning the shoot you strengthened for yourself.
It is burned with fire, cut down.
They perish at the rebuke of your face.
Let your hand be on the man of your right hand,
on the son of humankind whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will not turn back from you.
Restore us to life, and we will proclaim your name.
O Yahweh God of hosts, restore;
cause your face to shine that we may be saved.
They had hope.
Generation after generation the passed this hope on.
Hope of restoration, of newness.
Israel was expecting.
Mary was expecting.
And now, we are expecting.
In this first week of Advent, we reflect on hope. We remember the enduring hope of Israel rooted in the promise of God. The promise of restoration.
In this particular moment we have different hopes.
In the different stages of life each of us may find ourselves hoping for different things, for things to come back together, for things to be restored, for newness, for life and maybe even for some hope itself.
Whatever the situation may be, where ever you may find yourself, know and remember that you are not alone.
We hope alongside Israel.
We hope alongside Mary.
We hope alongside one another.
We hope together.
What are you hoping for?
In this season, as we take this time in the waiting, reflect on what you are hoping for. Take a moment to ask yourself what you are hoping for.
And maybe take some time to share. Whether its a family member or a friend. Whether its through a short text message or a long conversation over a meal. Consider taking time to share what you are hoping for in this season of life.