[1 Corinthians 13:3-7]

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.  Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes…”

Love always hopes.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14, NIV

“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

  “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

  The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.  For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:30-37, NIV

Forty-two generations of hoping.

Nine months of waiting.

One teenage girl.

One eternal promise.

Mary teaches us all what it means to hope.  She hoped in the words of an angel who said the impossible would happen.  She hoped in a God who had chosen an unassuming Nazarene to bear the Messiah.  She hoped that this baby would bring hope to all.

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:22-25, NIV

Perhaps you are hoping for answers or resolutions in the coming year.  Perhaps you too wait in expectation to see what this season will bring.  Might I remind us to turn with Mary and fix our gaze on the child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in the manger?

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:12, ESV

Are you crushed by circumstances?  He is your hope.
Are you worried about upcoming situations?  He is your hope.
Are you stinging from wounds?  He is your hope.
If only for this one moment today- take time to stop.  Gaze at the Nativity scene in your home or even locate one in a neighbor’s yard.  Look at the Messiah and take a deep breath of hope.  Imagine His first breath of life and find hope in knowing that His life gives YOU life.  Take heart, the King has come.  Take hope, the answer is here.

Love always hopes.



Advent Resource: The Christ of Christmas: Readings for Advent by Calvin Miller.  These 31 days of readings and Scriptures will invite you to rest in the presence of God throughout the Christmas Season and the whole year.  “Revisit the Manger… the miracle… the meaning.”