If you wanted to offer words of hope to a discouraged friend this Advent season, what would you say to them?
Would a simple “Merry Christmas” do?
How about your best off-key singing of “Jingle Bells”?
Maybe a Bible verse that would soothe their trouble souls?
Let’s see what the Apostle Paul had to say:
Paul had just finished writing about Jesus’ living example to them (and us), and then he reminded his readers that Jesus came to offer salvation to both Jewish and non-Jewish (Gentile) people.
In all the trouble that Rome was experiencing in their day – political unrest, famines, social unrest, plagues, injustice and abuse of power, military action, just to name a few – Paul knew the Christ-followers needed hope that only Jesus could give.
Paul knew that the hope Christ offered was for both here and now as well as eternity, and that confidence in Jesus being with them was through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit in them.
This strong confidence in God, their belief in God’s sovereignty despite the world falling apart around them, would fill them with God’s transcendent joy and peace, eclipsing their circumstances and wounded souls.
And Jesus extends that same offer to us as well as the ancient Romans.
That’s the joy of the Advent season – to remember why Jesus came to earth, and remind us to look forward to His second coming when He will ultimately reign in peace forevermore.
This is my prayer for you.
Will you offer this same prayer for a friend, a neighbor, a loved one?
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope,