Advent candles

Did you ever have a semester in school where you struggled to make it to the end? You could see the academic finish line, but it took everything you had to cross it?

Maybe your focus and discipline slipped. Maybe something outside of school was stealing your energy and drive. Maybe you just wanted to move on.

Regardless of the circumstances, you looked forward to the next semester when you could start over. You’d have a clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning.

You expected or anticipated or hoped for something new … a time when your past wouldn’t necessarily stain your future.

As we walk through the Advent season, anticipation and expectation take center stage. Christ is the anticipated Savior who arrives to unburden us from the constraints of sin—and give us hope!

Advent then is not only about anticipation and expectation … it’s also about hope.

In this Advent season, here are a few ways hope can take residence in our lives:

1. Hope or expectation for what could be in your personal life.

Hope is a powerful force. It can serve as motivation for change, especially when it comes to our personal lives. 

How many of us can use a season like that?

Think of Advent as a season of new starts, of throwing off the old and beginning anew, of wiping away past stains and being refreshed!

It’s a time to “… lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us …” (Hebrews 12:1, ESV).            

2. Hope or expectation for what could be in our world.

It’s easy to get down when we look at all the negative things going on in our world. Consuming the news can sometimes feel like an exercise in disappointment, frustration and even despair.

Yet we know that Christ works in and through each of us in the here and now. His love is evident in the daily care of His creation. Even though we know that our world is broken, God still cares for us and works in our world.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV).

Look for that hope in a restored relationship, in turning the tide on some societal crisis, hope for the spread of the gospel in hard-to-reach locations … the seed of hope that springs eternal over all the globe.

3. Hope or expectation for what will be in eternity!

The pains of our broken world are rarely far from us. They cause heartache at our core. Yet we know that all things will be renewed in the Kingdom.

“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4, NIV).

Never let the promise of the Kingdom be far from your heart.

Are you ready to take hold of the Advent season by clinging to what can be in your personal life, in our world and in the world to come? 

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