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Hope in a New Year

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During the advent season I was meditative on the hope of Jesus. There is so much depth and complexity and yet simplicity in advent. It’s simply the celebration of Jesus’ coming, and yet it is so complex. He came as a man, yet fully God; born to live and to die as the lamb of God. The fulfillment of God’s promises.

As I meditated on Jesus and the hope he brought as a baby, I started thinking about the new year and how I would love to take the hope and joy of advent with me. I don’t want to abandon the celebration of the miracle of Jesus — the warmth of hope and celebration of new life.

Often the new year for me will bring refreshment. It will bring a chance to set goals and feel energized and motivated the first few weeks of January. Then the warmth of the holidays begins to wear off and the hustle of everyday life wears on me. The warm, twinkling lights give way to routine and commitments. Where does the hope of advent fit in here? Well, advent doesn’t stop at the birth of Jesus. We celebrate his coming as a babe in a manger which leads to the celebration of his second coming. Jesus fulfilled promises when he came as a babe, he fulfilled magnificent promises in his life, death, and resurrection, and we have the hope of his second coming to fulfill the promise that God will forever restore those things that are broken on this earth.

The sin that entangles me so easily will one day be no more. The pain and suffering of this world will one day be replaced with eternal glorification and worship with our king in a new heaven and a new earth. What a magnificent hope to hold on to! As I think about hope, I think about how the promise maker impacts the value of the promise and the hope that it creates as we wait for it be fulfilled. We have a promise maker who has been faithful to keep his promises and to love his people. Hebrews 6:13-20 speaks of the certainty of God’s promises, which are guaranteed by his immutability (the fact that he cannot change). This is the hope that can carry us through the new year:

“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf…”

 - Hebrews 6:19-20a

And so, as my goal-setting becomes burdensome because I will inevitably fail at part or all of them, I hold on to the hope that advent created. I can remember that a little babe came not only to live and die, but to be resurrected and reign so that in this life we can live with unending hope.

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