Advent Devotionals: Monday, December 1

Keith Stillwell

Monday, First Week of Advent: Hope               
December 1, 2014

Jesus, the Hope for the Gentiles and for All

and again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse shall come,
the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;
in him the Gentiles shall hope.”
(Romans 15:12, NRSV)

We take for granted that the Advent (coming) of Christ, born in a manger, brings hope to all people, not just the Jewish Christians of the early church. However, the idea of accepting Gentiles into the church was strongly resisted. Thanks, in part, to the stubbornness and persistence of Paul, with arguments like we see here in Romans 15, the church eventually welcomed the Gentiles. It’s a good thing, or our Gentile Lexington Avenue Baptist Church may never have existed. Thanks Paul, and the Holy Spirit.

In the coming of Christ, we have a hope that fills us with joy and peace. And just as this hope was not only for the Jewish Christians of the early church, it is not only for our LABC family and friends. The hope of Christ is for all people. Paul reminded the Roman Christians, and reminds us, that hope is to be shared. Hope is a boxed lunch, from Soup’s On Us, shared with an elderly lady. Hope is a new Habitat home for a Boyle County family. Hope is a box of food for a homeless man, given by the Salvation Army. Hope is an Operation Christmas Child shoebox, filled with love for a child who has nothing. Hope is a graduation celebration for students in Nada. Hope is a water filtration system, providing clean water for a single mother in Haiti. Hope is a hug for an African student in Morocco, from an LABC member willing to travel across the ocean. Hope is a friendly conversation with a Moroccan Muslim, breaking down stereotypes. Hope is a training program, equipping a hopeless African migrant with a skill to provide a small income.

During this Advent Season, look for ways to share hope with those outside the walls of the church.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13, NRSV).