Advent season begins with hope for all the people on God’s great earth. It is the anticipation of only good things to come. Does any human emotion run as deep as hope? Some believe fairytales are nearly as universal as Hope, which simply passes down from one generation to the next an almost irrepressible sense of belief that in the end, the forces of evil will lose their struggle and the brave and good will somehow triumph.
However, one small flicker of Hope remained: the ancient promise of a Messiah. And on that single promise, the people of Israel kept their hope alive. Then suddenly, the stories and the rumors began to spread around about the possible birth of a child that would be like any other. A new and forever change in the lives of mankind was unfolding right before the world.
Let me try and explain just what God was up to. These are some of the events that precede Jesus’ birth:
There was an elderly married couple, a priest named Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. There was never a doubt of their love and loyalty to God. Their only regret they had was in all their years together they never had a child.
One day Zechariah was approached by the angel Gabriel, and was told he and his wife were soon to give birth to a baby son, and they were to name him John. And John would go out and tell the world of the “One” that will come after him.
Soon after, the old priest and his wife were bringing up John the Baptist.
However, before the birth of John, when Elizabeth was in her six month of pregnancy, the angel Gabriel had visited her cousin the Virgin Mary, who was engaged to a local carpenter named Joseph.
Gabriel told Mary that God had sent him to let her know she had “found favor with God;” and that she would soon be “with child,” and give birth to a son and that she would name him JESUS.
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am still a virgin?” Gabriel explained that the Holy Spirit “would come over her.” After also telling Mary about his previous visit to her cousin Elizabeth, Mary believed him, and then meekly responded to Gabriel, saying “I am the Lord’s servant.”
Mary now knew she had received the greatest honor God could provide to her and the world; the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Think about the people in this wonderful story: the elderly couple that had given up on having a child, and what a child he would grow up to be. The Virgin Mary, not yet married and the responsibility God had bestowed upon her.
No when I speak to you of faith, it is not something that we just acquire and use. It should be a way of life. We need to nurture our faith just like we nurture a small child that we want to grow into someone special.
The more we put into our faith journey, the more we will receive from it. When we continue to work at and practice our faith, we become more confident that the Lord will never forsake us or leave us all alone.
As we leave this Advent season, don’t leave Hope behind. As we get closer to the New Year, let us not make resolutions that are just for the moment or will not have a lasting affect on our lives here or our Eternal one in Heaven.
Let us make resolutions that we resolve to be better disciples in spreading the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us try to be more patient with each other. Take the time to say thank you, and constantly repeat to yourself: “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM THAT STRENGHTENS ME!”