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Advent 2018 – Hope

By Jesse Packard
January 8, 2019

Reader 1:

In the beginning, the world was created with purpose and life. All things that are were created by a perfect CREATOR who purposed all things to be in their proper place, to reflect HIS glory by fulfilling their purpose.

Reader 2:

In the beginning, I was born into a world chaotic and full of death. All things around ME seemed purposeless and wrong. What is the point of all of this pain and suffering around ME?

Reader 1:

God saw that all was good that HE had created. HE purposed to create one final creation, mankind, formed into HIS image to exist in perfect relationship with GOD their creator.

Reader 2:

Nothing around ME seems good. What is MY purpose? Who am I? I feel lost. Everything around tells ME that I must conform to an image of lust, greed, power, and selfishness, but these things only leave ME feeling alone.

Reader 1:

Sin entered the world because mankind purposed to choose their own role, to elevate themselves above their created place and reject the image of their creator. We cut ourselves off from life and community, and there can be only one result of rejecting the source of life and purpose. Death.

Reader 2:

We are hopeless. Death and destruction are the only end we can see in sight. We endlessly attempt to satiate our need for purpose and identity with things that will never satisfy, things that only end in more loneliness, more pain, more loss, more death.

Reader 1:

Yet all is not lost. God, the perfect creator, rejected by His creation, promised eternal life to His creation, and this God, this creator, this perfect and just divine, never lies.

The people of God wept and groaned and waited for their promised Redeemer, the one who would restore life and communion with their loving maker. This was their HOPE, that one would arise whose soul pleased God. Whose righteousness and love would defeat sin and death. One who would proclaim justice for the weak and hope for the hopeless.

Reader 2:

Hope for the hopeless. A young girl in Nazareth thousands of years ago received hope. Her perfect creator, the one whose voice she had longed to hear all of her life sent her a message, a message of hope and fulfillment, a message that God’s promise was about to be fulfilled. Hope. This girl bore hope out into the world, and that hope was born in the form of a man. Jesus of Nazareth.

Reader 1:

Jesus of Nazareth. The one of whom God had said:

18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
20 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
21     and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

Reader 2:

Jesus the Christ. The hope of the world. Through his great name, even we Gentiles can find hope thousands of years later. Hear these words and find hope:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Reader 1:

Thousands of years ago a young girl found hope for the world by the advent of her savior, Jesus Christ.

Reader 2:

Thousands of years later, we too can find hope for the world in the coming advent of our savior, Jesus Christ.

Let us worship Him together.