Hints of Hope
Thursday - December 3rd
"Hope is Here" Advent Devotionals - Day 3
Scripture to Read Today: Luke 1:26-28
In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin... the virgin's name was Mary.
Growing up in Northern Indiana gave me a great appreciation for all four seasons. There were times seasons would transition from one to another in such a dramatic way that you were in one season when you went to bed and woke up to an entirely new season the next morning. My memory recalls the most dramatic transition each year was the change from winter to spring.
The cold, dreary winter darkness would be replaced seemingly overnight by the warm, bright sun of spring. Of course, winter never let go quietly. One last snowstorm seemed to hit a few weeks into the springtime. Winter just had to make sure we did not forget about it.
One of my favorite mental images for the abrupt winter to spring transformation is a daffodil or tulip pressing up through winter's blanket of snow. The life and the vivid color hinted at what was to come. The freedom, energy, and love of spring would soon replace winter's desperate grip. The flower peeking its head through the frozen landscape epitomized the hint of hope - spring was on its way.
In Luke chapter one, two cousins share a bond in that the same angel gave a hint of hope to each of them. Gabriel shared with Elizabeth's husband, the priest Zechariah, that they would conceive their first child in their old age, and that child would be the one who would point to the Messiah. Meanwhile, Elizabeth's cousin in Nazareth, Mary, would receive an angelic visit from Gabriel too.
Gabriel would tell Mary that she had found favor with God, and He had a plan for her. These women get simple but clear hints of hope. They become a part of God's plan for the arrival of his often-prophesied Messiah. A woman beyond childbearing years would give birth to the messenger who would announce the Messiah. A young virgin would conceive and give birth to the Son of God - the Messiah Himself.
If you are familiar with how the whole promise of a Messiah (anointed and appointed one) came to the nation of Israel, you know that God used the promise of an impossible birth before. Abraham and Sarah were told by God that they would have a son and that their son would start a mighty nation. From that nation, the Messiah would come and be the Savior of all. Sarah laughed because she and Abraham had no children, and they were 75 years old. It would not be until Abraham was 100 that God would give he and Sarah that promised son - Isaac.
Both Elizabeth and Mary received and pondered the promise that they would have sons through humanly impossible pregnancies. God gave them each a taste of what was about to come. They shared the promises each received with the other. They had hints of the hope that only God could fulfill.
As we reflect on the stories of how God announced the births of John and Jesus, we too can sense the hope of the Messiah's arrival. We can latch onto the promises God gives us in His Word. What He says will happen, will happen - no matter how impossible and implausible it may seem.
Join Mary and Elizabeth in seeing the hints of hope found in the promises of God. Trust the Lord as you walk with Him!