Have you ever been in a place so dark it was hard to even imagine light?
I have. I would bet you have as well.
Darkness can be scary. It can so easily consume us. In darkness, our senses are skewed, our perceptions are altered, and we can loose our grip on the truth.
It’s no wonder the enemy of our souls is also called both the prince of darkness and the father of lies.
Today is the first day of Advent. Traditionally, the first candle is lit – the candle of Hope.
Imagine with me for a moment that we are sitting together around a table. The lights are off and we can barely see. We know we are safe, but there is a void. Something is missing – the light, the source that gives us peace and confidence in our reality.
A match is struct and suddenly there is a glow. A warmth fills our room and lights up our surroundings. As we light the first candle, the candle of Hope, we are invited to remember the promise.
The world was dark and cold. Not because it was winter. Not because it was snowy. But because they had lost hope. They were buried beneath the weight of their sin. Their efforts to make things right fell short. They were in desperate need for a savior, and God, in His loving kindness, had a plan.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14
Emmanuel – God with us.
There was no greater gift than restoration of God with us. The garden, where God and man once dwelt together, was Eden – the place of delight. Now even in their sin, God would return. God with us. Hope for the future.
The promises of God are real. They are meant to restore hope in the darkness.
When we cannot see the light and joy of our future, we are called to remember what God has already said and done.
And here is the best part – Jesus has come. We are no longer waiting for a savior. We no longer have to bear the weight of our sin and shame. He is the answer to our every need. But still, you may be waiting. What is it that you are longing for? God hears your cry. God will answer your plea. He has before, and he will again.
In this moment, turn your attention to the faithfulness of God. What has he done for you? How has the mighty and loving hand of God touched your life? And what is he currently doing? Can you see it? Can you feel it?
I heard someone say, “If you can’t hear him, look for him. If you can’t see him, remember him.” This is the time to remember. God has done amazing things in your life, and it all began before you were even born.
It began with the promise of a baby, the Christ child, who would change your life forever.
Hope has a name – it’s Emmanuel, God with us.
PS – If you haven’t received the gift of Jesus, there is freedom and joy waiting just for you. I would love to introduce you to him! Contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org