Joel 2: 28-29
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”
Hope is an essential part of Christmas, both in the secular and Biblical senses. Children hope for a desired gift and snow on Christmas Eve. Adults hope for safe travel and family harmony throughout the holidays. We want these things to happen, but at the same time, we know they may not. There is doubt.
But in the Bible, as Pastor Rhonda explained in this week’s sermon, hope is used to mean “expectation.” When we hope in the Lord, we expect that He will do what He promised – there is no doubt. We can expect with confidence because God has a track record with us, fulfilling His promises to His people throughout the ages. We can trust Him.
In this passage from the Old Testament Prophet Joel, God promises to give the Holy Spirit to everyone – the Spirit that until this time had been reserved for prophets and priests. God will dwell in everyone! This promise was fulfilled for us in our Baptism, but how much more will God give us the Holy Spirit if we but ask with expectation.
Old Testament believers hoped for the coming of the Messiah. They waited patiently with expectation and their hope was fulfilled with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus’ earthly life is history for us, but we can continue to hope in the Lord, knowing with confidence that Jesus hears our prayers and He is with us always – here and in heaven, our true home.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of hope, the sure knowledge that you will bless us as You have promised. Amen.
Written by Cheryl Stubbendieck
Cheryl Stubbendieck is a member of Sheridan’s Devotion Writing Team. She and her husband Jim live near Sheridan. Their family includes their son Aaron and his wife Chaitra of San Francisco, CA and their son Reed of Madison, WI. Cheryl was the public relations department head for Nebraska Farm Bureau before retiring in 2012. She spent the next four years as the volunteer manager of Barnabas Community and now helps to manage the OneSent Market.