by Rev. Dr. Dan Parrish
The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill my gracious promise with the people of Israel and Judah. In those days and at that time, I will raise up a righteous branch from David’s line, who will do what is just and right in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is what he will be called: The Lord Is Our Righteousness. Jeremiah 33:14-16 CEB
As we gather to worship this week we will see many changes that have taken place to our sanctuary, Family Life Center, office foyer and other areas of the church. This is all predicated on the hope that groups will take responsibility for the various areas that needed to be decorated for the Advent/Christmas season.
Sunday will be the first Sunday in Advent and a time when we will focus on the promise of hope for our future. We'll be focusing on the passage found in Jeremiah 33:14-16. Jeremiah is writing as he is imprisoned in the Court of the Guard of the Royal Palace.
Jeremiah reminds us that no matter the circumstances we might find ourselves, we can still hold to the promise of hope for the future. Jeremiah knew the presence of God in his life, and the promises that God had given to the nation of Israel and now Judah, promises that God would fulfill in a future Messiah—whom we know was Jesus Christ.
Hope has two meanings in the Bible. One has to do with trust, such as our hope in other people. The second, which is used most in the New Testament has to do with expectation and anticipation.
During the month of December, Toni and I have understood this concept through events in our own life. Toni asked for a large Christmas gift this year, a full remodel of our existing kitchen—including a new stove, microwave and new to us dishwasher, (I’ll be able to be semi-retired from this home duty now!). When the contractor came to the house, he discussed the various options available to us, and asked for Toni to share her expectations for the final result. Taking all this information and many measurements—the bid was given and the contract was signed. Now we wait in anticipation and expectation of what this remodel will be when completed in January of next year.
What are your expectations for this Christmas season and what are you anticipating to happen during the holiday season. Are you aware that promises have been made to you from our Heavenly Father that will be fulfilled when Christ returns in His glory. Does that give you a hope for your future—that no matter what you are going through at this time—God is with you and has promises that He has made to you for your eternal future? This living hope must be claimed. And if you claim this hope then you can be assured that, whatever your circumstances, God is with you. See you at our Father’s house this weekend.
- Pastor Dan Parrish