The Gospel of Luke 21-25
Jesus said, “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man”
Let us Pray: God of hope, who brought love into this world, be the love that dwells between us. God of hope, who brought peace into this world, be the peace that dwells between us. God of hope, who brought joy into this world, be the joy that dwells between us. God of hope, the rock we stand upon, be the center, the focus of our lives always, and particularly this Advent time. This we pray in expectation of the coming of our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Today we light the first candle of the Advent wreath. This is the candle of HOPE. With Christians around the world, we use this light to help us prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of God’s Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. May we receive God’s light as we hear the words of the prophet Isaiah: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.”—Isaiah 9:2
Advent is a time of expectation, anticipation, and excitement It means Jesus would be born in Bethlehem but it also the sharing of hope, Hope as we look forward to the future one day at a time. What do you think of when you hear the word “hope”? Some common synonyms for hope are: anticipation, belief, expectation, optimism, intangible things, right? Other thoughts what hope might mean, winning the lottery, Great health and prosperous life. It seems the word “hope” can have a variety of meanings, ranging from the vague and intangible to the impossible and downright absurd. Hope isn’t empty optimism about castles in the sky! We need to remember how the Bible talks about hope. There’s nothing vague about it. Hopes aren’t pinned on blind optimism. Hopes are anchored in the nail scarred hands of the Son of God who gives you a sure and certain hope, rooted in the promises of God. Hope is the theme for our Advent gospel today, and Christ’s coming brings hope. So, we can understand why our church is called HOPE. We recognize the promises of God. HOPE.
Advent is not just the season before Christmas it describes the reality of life and world. Advent is a season of change, letting go, and looking to a future that is not yet clear or known. It means we should see new life and new growth. We should open the doors of life with new courage and confidence. We could look on the world with a new sense of compassion and hope. We would be strengthened to do the work God has given us to do. The Advent seasons of our lives can be long, difficult, and painful. But we never face those seasons without the signs of hope and reassurance, signs that point to the one who is coming. Clearly Jesus hopes we will be alert and awake to his coming, not only at the “end of time” but today and every day. Remember “There will be signs,” Jesus said. And are those signs showing up today? Signs that things are foreboding of what is coming upon the world.
Let us Pray:
God of hope and promise, be with us throughout this Advent season and draw us ever closer as we journey together toward the stable and the birth of your Son, our Savior. Amen