May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
There was someone else there that day when Mary and Joseph brought their infant son to the temple. Another who had been faithfully watching and waiting and believ- ing it was only a matter of time before she saw the fulfillment of God’s longstanding promise. Anna was a prophet, eighty-four years old. She had been married once, long ago, for seven years before her husband died. This would have given her a difficult life in ancient culture, making her dependent on others for a well-being that was probably then meager. None of that seemed to slow Anna down. She spent all her time in the temple, worshiping, fasting, and praying. Her service might have even been part of some official group or capacity.
Like Simeon, Anna was ready when Jesus arrived. Maybe she approached the young family at the same time as Simeon. Maybe later. Whatever the timing, her worshipful response was similar. But Luke tells us even more. Like Simeon, Anna was overjoyed to see this long-expected gift from God. She certainly must have felt fulfilled as well. But Anna wasn’t done. Her hope overflowed, and she told everyone she could about what she had seen.
Anna’s hope is the kind described by Paul, when he prayed, “... that you may over- flow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Isn’t that just like hope? It’s the kind of hope we see in children on Christmas morning: expectant, unbridled, uncontainable, overflowing. And it’s the same kind from the God of hope that sustains through the ages.
How is your hope-ometer these days? What hope have you given up on that God is calling to renew in you?
Hope For Our Inheritance
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glori- ous inheritance in his holy people. —Ephesians 1:18
You’ve seen the movies or heard the stories. Maybe you’ve dreamed of it happening to you. A long lost relative who you never knew you had dies and unexpectedly leaves a fortune for you. Turns out it really does happen sometimes. Take the case of Zsolt and Geza Peladi. The brothers were living in a cave outside of Budapest, Hungary, in 2009 when they learned they would inherit $7 billion from their long-lost grandmother. The Peladi brothers knew their mother had come from a wealthy family, but she had severed ties with her family and later abandoned her sons. Their grandmother had died with no other heirs, and her next surviving relatives were tracked down: Zsolt and Geza and their sister who lived in the United States. The brothers told reporters they hoped their newfound money would allow them to find love and a normal life.
It’s probably unlikely that you or I will inherit $7 billion—but apparently not im- possible. Regardless, we have the most incredible and satisfying inheritance of all: “the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy peo- ple,” as the apostle Paul describes it. In Ephesians 1, Paul recaps the power of the prom- ise that God has fulfilled in Jesus. One day, we will receive the fulfillment of eternal life, complete restoration to wholeness and unity with God. In the meantime, God’s Spirit fills us with hope for the day when we will see this work complete. In Advent, we expectantly hope for the celebration of Christmas, and we look beyond with hope to Christ’s return and our invaluable spiritual inheritance.
What would you do if you knew you were about to inherit a billion dollars? How will you live knowing the power of Christ to defeat death is alive in you today?
© 2020 by Outreach, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form for the purposes of monetary profit. Published by Outreach, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO 80919
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