Advent helps us ponder hope in three ways – associate, celebrate, and anticipate.
First, during Advent, we associate with hope.
We associate with the exiled Israelites. We think about what it must have felt like to live under oppression and how they were desperate for God to do something. We read prophecy and we connect with the longing for a Messiah.
The song, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” puts this idea into words, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear.”
Doesn’t that capture it well? The Israelites were mourning, hurting, lonely in exile here. They were waiting for the appearing of the Messiah to come and help.
Secondly, during Advent, we celebrate hope.
We celebrate the coming of the One the prophets talked about. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” Hope has come, in Christ, the Messiah. We marvel that the baby born in Bethlehem came to save us from our sins.
And thirdly, during Advent, we anticipate hope.
We anticipate the return of Jesus, his second coming. We wait in expectation, we wait in hope, that someday Christ will return to conquer all enemies and bring full peace on earth