The first Sunday of Advent. We light our candle… hope. The wick bursts into a flame, and it holds… dancing light.
Jesus came to give the gift of hope.
Who would not accept this gift??
Doesn’t that idea seem odd? to turn away from the gift of hope? In the warm, the light, the beauty of this candle, to snuff it out??
The person who would say no… turn away… is the person who sees no worth, no use of the gift. The person who has no desire.
Imagine if someone offered you a brand new BMW… that would be amazing!! Who would say no??— A person with a garage full of Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, and Bentley’s … this person would have no use, no need, no desire for the BMW. The gift would have no worth….. AND if it was accepted outwardly as a perfunctory, cultural duty, it would never be used.
and then imagine that the condition of the BMW gift was that the person to receive it must have no car at all? This person with the 50 sports cars would be disqualified. (And then imagine, that this person disqualified, did not know that each of his sports cars was rigged to blow up once he started driving… and the BMW was the only car of safety.)
In the same way, Jesus came to give hope to the hopeless.
He did not come to add a little more to your all-ready self-sufficiency. The mere idea… of Jesus adding to what we already have… that is snuffing out the candle. Turning away from glory.
If you look at your life and are satisfied, then the gift of Hope will have no worth, no use. There is no desire.
But if you look at your life and see darkness and sin… a sickness like leprosy coursing through your veins and in desperation you say, “I am in danger of the fire of hell!”
Then, and only then… in this despair and hopelessness… Jesus offers the gift of peerless worth: certain hope.
Jesus IS the gift of Christmas. “I am the way, the truth, and the light.”
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined… For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given… his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…. you shall call his name “Jesus” for he will save his people from their sins… they shall call his name Immanuel, which means God with us. (Isaiah 9:2,6; Matthew 1:21,23)
This God-man baby who came to us on Christmas, is the one, who has “borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows… He was wounded for our transgressions and he was crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Is 53:4,5)
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
This Christmas… do you believe this?
One of my favorite prayers, is Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)