*During Advent, Pastor Cody is writing weekly advent readings for the Sunday worship gathering. Each reading will be posted for further reflection. Enjoy and share!

Advent Reading \\ Hope

In Jerusalem at the time [of Jesus’ birth], there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:

With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel.

Anna the prophetess was also there. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.”

From Luke 2, The Message

Both Simeon and Anna had placed their hope in the coming Messiah, the savior God had promised, and they had waited expectantly for many years. Their hope was not mere wishful thinking, but a confident expectation proven by the actions of their lives – they were devoted to prayer, fasting, and worship. When the time came, they were prepared to act upon the hope they claimed.

This morning we have the opportunity to act upon our hope in Jesus. Our first action is to pray. Simeon and Anna both lived lives marked by prayer, especially prayer for God to help Israel. Let us also be a people who pray with confident expectation that God will help our city and our nation.

Second, we can act upon our hope by thanking and praising God for his gift of grace. We sing his praises not out of rote tradition or duty, but with hearts full of joy and voices raised to express our gratitude.

Lastly, we can act upon our hope in the same way Anna did – by talking about the child to all who will listen! Jesus isn’t just our hope, he is the hope of the world. He’s the answer to every question. He’s the “something’s missing” that every soul feels until they come in contact with the God-revealing light of Jesus.

Those upon whom this light has shined have hope in Jesus. We have a confident expectation that he will save us from our sin, that he became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus has taken our sin away, even the sin we are still fighting today. Let’s break into an anthem of joyous praise and thank our God for who he is and what he has done!