Jeremiah 33:14-16 14 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring forth for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’
Life did not turn out the way the Israelites had expected. God had chosen their ancestor Abraham, saved them from slavery in Egypt, blessed them with the Law on how to live and the land in which to live it. They had a beautiful temple, the greatest temple ever built. Yet it all fell apart. Their nation was conquered, the temple was destroyed and God’s people were taken away into exile in a foreign land. The reason for this seemed clear: they had failed to obey God’s law, they had broken the covenant. By all appearances, God had abandoned them.
That is not the end of the story. Texts like Jeremiah 33 reminded the people that God was not done with them yet. A better day was in the future. A time was coming when a descendant of the great king David would appear and all would be made right.
Christians believe this promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The hope of God’s people was born to the virgin Mary.
Has your life turned out how you expected? I suspect many today would answer, no. Maybe it is a broken marriage or estranged family. Perhaps it is a disappointing job. If you’re like George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life, you’ve always wanted to leave the small town you grew up in but you never have. For many, life often seems disappointing.
The hope of Advent, as we remember the coming of Jesus, is that a better future is still coming. Jesus was born, lived, died and rose again. The world has continued chugging along for centuries. In some ways it has become a little better, in some ways a little worse. At Advent we renew our hope that there is a better day coming. This hope stems from passages such as this one:
Romans 1311 Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed;12 the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;13 let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires
As we renew our faith in Christ this Advent, we hope. But it is an active hope, we set about to live in the ways of Jesus, of actively bringing love and justice and joy and yes, hope, into the world all the while looking to the day when Jesus completes this work.
The time is coming…