Welcome to Advent 2017! I will be posting all four of our weekly Advent readings online for you to take a longer, more leisurely look at. They go by so quickly on Sunday morning. I apologize that this first week’s readings are late. I will be posting the rest soon. If advent is new to you check out this article.
If you have any personal or family Advent traditions I’d love to hear about them!
Hope Chapel 2017 Advent readings –
Come, let us walk
In the light of the LORD.
Why do we light this candle?
This candle reminds us
that the hope for real, lasting peace is found in Christ; peace that isn’t dependent upon the circumstances in which we find ourselves but upon the promise of Him who always keeps His promises.
When God Himself is our peace,
we can be sure
we will not be disappointed.
The prophet Isaiah spoke these words to give us hope:
Comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.
Tell her that her sad days are gone
and her sins are pardoned.
O Zion, messenger of good news,
shout from the mountaintops!
Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.
Shout and do not be afraid.
Tell the towns of Judah,
“Your God is coming!”
Your God is coming!
In the time of Herod king of Judea
there was a priest named Zechariah.
Both he and his wife Elizabeth
were righteous in the sight of God.
But they were childless because
Elizabeth was not able to conceive,
and they were both very old.
Once when Zechariah was chosen
to go into the temple of the Lord
and burn incense,
an angel of the Lord appeared
and said to him:
“Do not be afraid, Zechariah;
your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you are to call him John.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit
even before he is born.
And he will go on before the Lord,
to turn the hearts of the parents
to their children and the disobedient
to the wisdom of the righteous—
to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
When his time of service was completed,
he returned home.
After this his wife Elizabeth
As we remember
God’s faithfulness to Elizabeth,
we can agree with
Paul’s confession to the church in Rome in Romans 8:15-25
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next Papa?
God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.
And we know we are going to receive an unbelievable inheritance! If we go through the hard times with Him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with Him!
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next.
Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within!
We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why the waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother.
We are enlarged in the waiting.
We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
give us such a vision of your purpose
and such an assurance
of your love and power,
that we may always cling
to the hope which is in Jesus Christ our Lord
who is alive with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.