The Hope Collective Advent Guide
Hope | Week 1 | Day 7
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
A History of Anticipation
Half the fun of Christmas is waiting for its arrival. Children, and many adults, can hardly stand the tantalizing anticipation of fun and gifts. But even apart from Christmas, a lot of people spend their lives waiting. They wait for the perfect love, or the perfect job, or the perfect home, or the perfect situation.
And sadly, these people are waiting for things that will never appear… because they don’t exist.
This is one of life’s absurdities—waiting on unrealistic hopes. In this sense, waiting is a tragic waste of time.
Others, however, are waiting for something sure and substantial. Their hopes have a foundation. And the assurance of their hope gives them strength to carry on, sometimes in very difficult circumstances.
The nation of Israel had a long tradition of waiting. We see in the Old Testament that people in every generation had set their hopes on what God would do. From Abraham to Elijah, God’s people eagerly anticipated the fulfillment of all His promises.
Centuries later, in the New Testament, we find the tradition of waiting continued. In Luke 2, which tells the story of Jesus’ birth and the events that followed, we find the story of two people who were waiting. One was Anna. She was looking forward to the “redemption of Jerusalem.” The other was Simeon, who was waiting for the “consolation of Israel.” They, like their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, were eagerly waiting for God to burst into their circumstances and do what He had promised to do.
Then, when the Christ child was born, both Anna and Simeon took Jesus in their arms and rejoiced. They saw the baby Jesus as the answer to their waiting.
– Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Meet Him at the Manger, org. Used with permission.
Father, I don’t want to waste my time waiting for things that are unrealistic hopes. Help me to identify what those are in my life and give me the strength to place my hope only in you, trusting that all my needs and deepest longings will be satisfied through you. Amen.
Take food, clothing, hygiene necessities or blankets to a homeless shelter or give them directly to a homeless person in your town.
Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line.
Watch this short video on “Hope” and send it along to someone who might be encouraged by it.
Make real Hot Cocoa with cocoa powder, melted chocolate, sugar and milk of your choice. (See recipe below!) While the cocoa heats, read Luke 2:11 and share with each other something big you are waiting for right now.
4 cups milk (preferably whole or 2%). Using milk instead of water makes this hot chocolate extra creamy and flavorful. Whole milk or 2% milk is the creamiest, but you can use any milk that you choose.
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place the milk of your choice in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
Whisk in cocoa powder and sugar, and heat until warm.
Once the milk is warm, add chocolate chips, whisking until they melt into the milk.
Add a splash of vanilla extract.
Serve immediately, topped with your favorite garnishes: marshmallows, whipped cream, chopped chocolate, crushed candy canes or more.