The Hope Others Bring
Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Tuesday - December 22nd
"Hope is Here" Advent Devotionals - Day 22
Scripture to Read Today: Luke 2:22-38
“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.”
Humans can survive three minutes without air, three days without water, three weeks without food, and — many mental health professionals say — three months without companionship. Whether true or not, what's clear is that people need people. Pandemics, many of us are learning, can be lonely times.
Others must have questioned the integrity of Mary and Joseph's relationship. As Mary's pregnancy became evident, it's possible family and friends stepped back. They may have found it hard to believe that the child conceived in Mary was conceived of the Holy Spirit. As Mary and Joseph told others about their encounters with the angel and how he told them they were a part of God's plan to bring the Messiah into the world, many around them must have had their doubts. Even Joseph struggled to accept what Mary told him about the visit of the angel Gabriel to her. God sent the angel in a dream to reassure Joseph.
With Mary full-term in her pregnancy, being visitors in Bethlehem must have left them feeling alone. They may have felt all alone in the throngs of people in Bethlehem for the Roman census. God kindly surrounded Mary and Joseph with other voices. He sent many to surround this young couple and their newborn baby.
Even before Mary's pregnancy was full-term, she experienced confirmation from God through her cousin Elizabeth and her husband, the priest Zachariah. After the baby's birth in the stable, God sent shepherds to celebrate the birth of and worship the Christ child. The shepherds shared the story of angels proclaiming the Messiah's birth. The very night Mary gave birth, God sent others who surrounded Mary and Joseph with hope.
According to Luke 2:21-24, Jesus' earthly parents devoutly followed the Jewish law and customs. They named their child on the eighth day, circumcised Him, and took Him to the Temple to be dedicated. Mary and Joseph acknowledged their son was a gift from God. They acknowledged their faith in God's plan for their son.
While at the Temple, they met an older woman and an older man. Each had been spending their final days of life at the Temple anticipating the arrival of God's saving Messiah. When they saw the baby Jesus, they knew their eyes had looked into the face of the one long anticipated by the people of Israel. As Mary and Joseph watched, these dear saints each celebrated the goodness of God in sending Jesus.
Again, God provides people to Mary and Joseph - people who affirm God's redemptive plan to use that baby boy to save the world. He brings hope to them through the presence and voices of others.
Look for those in your life God has sent to bring you hope. Sometimes we overlook, ignore, or push back those God has sent to us. Notice them. Receive them. Celebrate and thank them.
Find ways to bring the hope of God to others. Look for those who may be alone. The pandemic has left many cut off and isolated from others. Review the contacts on your phone or the friends on one of your social media accounts. Look for three to five people who might need you to be the voice and face of hope from God. Text, call or email them. Share an encouraging word with them to lift them up today!
God surrounded Mary and Joseph with people of hope. We should look for and be people who bring Christ's hope to others!