Sunday, First Week of Advent: Hope
December 1, 2013
Light the Candle of Hope
No one has ascended into Heaven except he who descended from Heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3: 13-17
I have often prayed “God thank you for all the things we don’t even know we should be thankful for”. How many blessings do we not know about because we can’t think as God does? John 3:16 is one of the most quoted verses in all the Bible. Often the person quote it as if to say, “For God so loved the world that he ‘gave’ his son to die on the cross for us”, all too often the cross is all we see of Jesus. But do we see all of what God “gave” on the cross? I do not think so.
I think this is one of the times we think too small, I believe that gift started when God stepped into his creation. This gift was far greater than what happened for six hours on Good Friday. The gift started nine months before Christmas, went on for the 33 years of Jesus’ life, including when he went willingly to the cross, stepped out of the tomb three days later, and spent the next 40 days walking amongst his people. However, that is not the end. We continually are offered life through the gift of God and the work of the Son. To only think of the cross in John 3:16 is to forget his life, ministry, miracles, transfiguration, the resurrection, ascension, and everything that he offers to us continually.
The overwhelming hope we should find in this familiar verse is not just in the cross, but in the perfect love of God that we are offered and participate in. A love so perfect we cannot know it fully, a love so powerful it had to be given to us by God himself, a love so unending that it started before we were born and will not stop. The hope God has given us is so mysterious we cannot take it all in and, in the midst of our bewilderment, all we can give to God in return, no matter how insignificant it seems, is our thanks.
Prayer: God, thank you for everything that we don’t even know that you do for us, give us an attitude of gratefulness that your love overcomes our limitations. As we grow in faith help us to continue to see what your love has done for us. Amen.