The Maturing of Hope
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
~1 Corinthians 13:11
From after Thanksgiving to December 25 was the longest time of the year for me as a child! I would read and re-read the book written by Clement Clarke Moore titled, “The Night Before Christmas”. With great anticipation I placed my hope on the fact that on Christmas Eve night, St. Nicholas would enter the house and in his bag of toys he would bring the exact toy that I desired. I thought and I reasoned like a child.
However, as I matured and as “I gave up childish ways”, the word hope took on an entirely different meaning in my spiritual life. I learned a new meaning of hope and it is the “confident trust with the expectation of fulfillment” of His faithfulness to His promises. In the Book of Hebrews it says: “Hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast”.
On this second Sunday of Advent, let's examine one of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the meaning of hope as the confident trust with the expectation of fulfillment; the location of the Messiah's arrival.
The Book of Micah 5:2, 4 says: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf...And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord's strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world. And he will be the source of peace.” (NLT)
Micah accurately predicted the Messiah's birthplace hundreds of years before He was born. The prophecy became well known by the people of Israel and it encouraged their hope for the long awaited arrival of the Messiah.
The prophecy in Micah was fulfilled in the New Testament in Matthew and also in Luke when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. For the Israelites, their hope for the Messiah had come fruition.
Where is your sure and steadfast anchor of hope? Where do you go to renew your hope? David said in Psalm 39:7: “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in You.”
John Wesley said: “See that your affections, your desire, your joy, your hope, be set, not on transient objects, not on the things that fly as a shadow, that pass away like a dream; but on those that are incapable of change, that are incorruptible and fade not away; those that remain the same. See that in all you think, speak, or do, the eye of your soul be single, fixed on Him that is invisible.”
Our God is called “the God of Hope”. He is the source of all real hope.
Lord God, thank You for allowing us to place our hope in You. Constantly remind us to anchor our hope in You. Amen.
~ Ann Brock Ludington