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1st Week of Advent: Prophesy & the Hope Candle

1st Week of Advent: Prophesy & the Hope Candle

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

He was born. He did not come as an angel or reach earth on a cloud the way He finally ascended. He was birthed by a virgin. A woman—no, a girl—who had known no man, but gave birth to a son…

For unto us a child is born,
to us a son is given… (Isa. 9:6)

Born to her, but here for us. Here for her.

Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art

In the days and weeks after Gabriel’s visit, I wonder how much Mary met with Yahweh? As her stomach grew, her back ached, her neighbors whispered? How much of her time was spent in praise and thanksgiving? How much of it was spent in prayer and supplication? What was the depth of her hope?

From our fears and sins release us…

Did the words of the prophet echo in the back of her mind?

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son….” (Isa. 7:14)

Did it make sense to her? Or was she simply choosing obedience? Isn’t obedience—especially in the face of uncertainty—the most hope-filled way one can live.

Let us find our rest in Thee

Her Savior in her womb. Entering onto the scene a living metaphor of Hope, beginning tiny, unseen, barely felt. But with nurturing, he grew and developed, causing his mother to swell, changing her shape and condition. Then, at the right time, He was brought forth.

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has a light shone.
                                    –Isaiah 9:2

 

Isn’t that the way with hope? It begins so tiny—with only a promise—dwelling in the dark. But the promise holds itself complete. And when finally birthed, its light is incredible.

Born a child, and yet a king

The promise, the Hope, wasn’t just for any king. The promise was for Immanuel: God with us.

….and shall call his name Immanuel…” (Isaiah 7:14)

A king–our Hope–that would reign for us, with us, in us.

Born to reign in us forever,
Now thy gracious kingdom bring
By thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone

Hope begun undetectable, birthed in infancy, raised in humility, perfected in sacrifice, triumphant in resurrection, everlasting in eternity.

This is the way of hope—true hope. The kind of hope that stands outside the world’s boundary lines because the world cannot understand it.

I, like Mary, have hope. I hope for that which is not yet seen. I hope in anticipation, expectation, sometimes out of pure obedience, oftentimes battling against fear and judgment so I can stand square in the middle of the Promise. Even if I cannot always see or feel its presence, I trust in the completeness Hope gives. I hope because, like Mary, I have accepted my assignment. And the two always go together.

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free…
 
By thine all-sufficient merit
Raise us to thy glorious throne.
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