NAMS Advent blog, week 3

Hope (By Manik Corea)

In this third in our NAMS Advent series, we discuss the place of hope in the Advent narratives of the two comings of our Lord. The true disciple of Christ is first and foremost a person whose hope is set on the promises, power and purposes of God.

There is a folk story about a crooked official who was sentenced to death by the king of the land. The condemned man pleaded with the king for his life, and in desperation, offered to teach the king’s beloved stallion how to fly in two years. Having won a reprieve, his incredulous friends asked him how on earth he was going to teach a horse to fly. He calmly replied, “Well, perhaps in these two years, the king might die, or I might die. Or his horse might die. One never knows, the horse might even learn to fly!”

A fanciful wish indeed, premised on the inevitability of death.

Many people however, choose to live in a death-denying stupor. Faced with the grim statistic that 100% of the people who ever lived on earth have died, they prefer to avoid the subject altogether. Others may in fact take comfort in fanciful beliefs about the after-life, indulge themselves to distraction and numbness, or stoically face up to the prospect of one day being no more than a memory to their survivors.

But all of us in some way, conscious or unconscious, live in an awareness of our mortality. Many have a resultant fear of death and dying. Lurking in the dark corners of our existence, it stalks us down like bloodhounds on the hunt. Soon or late, the clock counts down to the dreaded moment when, in the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet , we have “shuffled off this mortal coil.” [1]

Against such a grim and gloomy prospect, the good news of Jesus rises like a blazing comet, lighting up a hitherto dark and starless night. 

His Gospel trumpets a death-defying song of hope – Jesus alone holds the keys of Death and Hades [2].  

All others lived and died. Christ alone died and now lives forever. And because He lives, we also will live, no longer slaves to the fear of death [3].  Paul calls Christ in us ‘the hope of glory’ [4]. 

Advent is thus the season of good hope. We remember Jesus, the One whom prophets foretold and angels heralded in His historic Incarnation. We anticipate with the Scriptures His return in glory to usher in a new heaven and a new earth.

“We have this (hope) as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.’ (Hebrews 6:19)

Our hope is not wishful optimism or positive thinking, but the strong expectation and enduring hope that God who sent His Son to save us, will one day complete His glorious work of redemption in the renewal of all things by His second coming. Into this hope, we were baptized and now live.

The Scriptures call us consequently to set our hopes firmly in God [5].  In the midst of the storms of life that may batter and buffet us to despair, Christ the anchor of our soul holds firm, until that day when we die and enter His glory.

Oh joy that seekest me through pain
I cannot close my heart to thee
I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be  [6]

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[1] William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1. Soliloquy. 
[2] Revelation 1:18
[3] John 14:19 Hebrews 2:15
[4] Colossians 1:27
[5] Psalm 9:18; 33:18, 22; 71:14; 130:5; Isaiah 40:31; Romans 4:18, 5:5, 8:24, 15:13; 2 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 1:18; Titus 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 10:23; 1 Peter 1:13, etc.
[6] Verse 3 of Hymn “O Love, That Wilt Not Let Me Go” by George Matheson.

NAMS Advent blog, week 3

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