"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness." - Desmond Tutu
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
In a world where we’re bombarded with bad news such as war, social polarization, human trafficking, corruption, racial bias, poverty and more, it can be hard to see the good. Add to that our personal hardships, be they financial difficulty, relational breakdowns, addictions, fears, or physical and mental health struggles. It can all lead to misery. Unless. Unless we have a hope for the future. Hope giving life, despite being surrounded by death and despair.
In World War II, a young French resistance fighter by the name of Jacques Moalic was captured by the Nazis and taken to the Buchenwald concentration camp. While imprisoned he saw many atrocities as prisoner of war (POWs) were horribly beaten, tortured, and killed. One of the most difficult days was when he had to dig a mass grave and bury hundreds of his fellow prisoners. Death was common. Daily. He and the rest of the prisoners expected to die in the camp. But a spark of hope arose on June 6, 1944 - D-day. Rumours began to spread that Allied forces had landed in Normandy and the thoughts of liberation began to fill their hearts and minds.
Eventually they heard the sounds of distant battle, fueling their rising anticipation. The Nazis, however, continued their brutality in the camp. With so many more prisoners dying, their hope waned at times. One day loud sirens split the air. The POWs were unsure of their fate as they were kept in their barracks. Eventually things became quiet. The quiet persisted. The prisoners cautiously made their way outside and saw that their Nazi captors were gone. Jacques and the other prisoners walked out of the gates and were met by an American tank. The soldiers inside the tank came out and said, “It’s alright, you’re free now.” Oh, how they treasured these wonderful words!
We celebrate Advent as a reminder of the great hope that we have because of the Christmas story. Like prisoners set free from a concentration camp, the story of Jesus comes to each of us in our hopeless bondage to sin; He alone opens our prison gates and saying, “It’s alright, you’re free now.” This is the hope of the Christian faith: 1 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV) - 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you...
We celebrate Advent and Christmas – His coming in the flesh – because it’s inevitably tied to his death and resurrection; due to his Advent, his death and his resurrection, we have hope in this life despite its trials, and hope for the next life, too (see 1 Corinthians 15:19-20).
The famous sermon by S.M. Lockridge lifts our eyes to see beyond our earthly perspective. Too often all we see is current suffering in this world…but that’s not all there is. We have a great hope. It may feel like Friday…but Sunday’s a comin'.
It's Friday: Jesus is praying, Peter's a sleeping, Judas is betraying...but Sunday's comin'.
It's Friday: Pilate's struggling, the council is conspiring, the crowd is vilifying. They don't know that Sunday's comin'.
It's Friday: The disciples are running like sheep without a shepherd. Mary's crying. Peter is denying...but they don't know that Sunday's a comin'.
It's Friday: The Romans beat my Jesus. They robe Him in scarlet, they crown Him with thorns. But they don't know that Sunday's comin'.
It's Friday: See Jesus walking to Calvary. His blood is dripping. His body stumbling, and His spirit's burdened...but you see, it's only Friday. Sunday's comin'.
It's Friday: The world's winning, people are sinning, and evil's grinning.
It's Friday: The soldiers nail my Saviour's hand to the cross. The nail my Saviour's feet to the cross, and then they raise Him up next to criminals.
It's Friday: But let me tell you something...Sunday's comin'.
It's Friday: The disciples are questioning what has happened to their King, and the Pharisees are celebrating that their scheming has been achieved. But they don't know it's only Friday. Sunday's comin'.
It's Friday: He's hanging on the cross feeling forsaken by His Father. Left alone and dying. Can nobody save Him? Ooooh it's Friday, but Sunday's comin'.
It's Friday: The earth trembles, the sky grows dark. My King yields His spirit.
It's Friday: Hope is lost. Death has won. Sin has conquered, and Satan's just a laughin'.
It's Friday: Jesus is buried. A soldier stands guard, and a rock is rolled into place...
But it's Friday. It is only Friday. Sunday is a comin'!"
Christmas is a comin' so remember the hope you have in Jesus.
Revelation 21:4-5 (NLT) – 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” 5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!"
Advent reflections shared by Cal Krahn, Mission Canada Quebec and Francophone Coordinator.