Advent Devotional: Looking Forward With Hope

When you think of Christmas, what part speaks most to you?  I am drawn to the complete trust that Mary and Joseph had in God.  Imagine being in Mary’s shoes. At the age of perhaps fifteen or sixteen, she is visited by an angel of the Lord and told that because she has found favor with God, the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will conceive and have a son whom she will call Jesus.  Her response in Luke 1:38 is:

I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.”

Mary and Joseph were betrothed in a legally binding agreement.  If Mary was found to be pregnant before the wedding, the assumption would be made that Joseph was the father of her child.  If he was not, Joseph would be well within his rights to divorce her. We aren’t told in scripture how her parents reacted to her news, but Matthew records that Joseph did not want to publicly humiliate her and was going to divorce her quietly.  That is, until he had his own visit from an angel telling him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. The son that Mary will have will save his people from their sins. This took place to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14:

Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign:  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel.”

Both Mary and Joseph knew of God’s promise of a Savior.  In the days leading up to the birth of Jesus, they must have been reminded over and over about God’s character in blessing His people and keeping His promises.   Perhaps, just like other couples awaiting the birth of a child, they sat together and dreamed new dreams, imagined what might be possible, and looked to the future with hope.

In this Advent season, let us follow their example of trusting in God, imagining what might be possible, and looking forward with hope.  It is because of the birth of Jesus that we have hope. He is our Hope!

You are Loved!