If you take your Bible and look at the end of the Old Testament and turn to the New Testament, you will most likely find one page of paper that says, “New Testament.” But did you ever realize that one piece of paper represents 400 years. 400 years! That is longer than America has been a nation. There were 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament. 400 silent years. 400 years in which God did not speak to his people. 400 years without any new promises. 400 years of waiting. Can you imagine waiting for 400 years? But that is what God’s people did.
They waited for God to fulfill the last promise that he made (Malachi 4:5-6). Not everyone continued to believe that God would fulfill his promise. Many people gave up. But there were a few who waited and believed that God would keep his promise. Waiting and believing is called “hope.” Hope is being confident that God will fulfill his promises, even if we have to wait. The story of Christmas is a great story of HOPE!
As you read these stories, think about the way in which people needed hope and demonstrated hope.
(Each text is a link to the reading in ESV)
Think about these truths:
There are times when everything appears hopeless.
Even when everything appears hopeless, God is always at work.
When God gives us hope, it shatters our hopelessness
When have you felt hopeless? What has caused you to feel hopeless?
Who did God use or what did God do to take your hopelessness away?
Give thanks to God for how He brought you hope when you felt hopeless. Thank Him for the gift of Jesus, our eternal hope.
Make an advent wreath. You can buy a kit, get your own greenery and candles, or make a “flame-free” version with a hand print-cutout wreath and paper candles.
Give hope to others like God has given hope to you. Bake and deliver cookies to the neighbors, donate to Crisis Ministries, or respond spontaneously to the Holy Spirit’s work around you. Express your ministry in the name of Jesus Christ who gives lasting hope.