Advent Devotions 2017
Day One
December 3, 2017

Advent Hope: God is with Us

Many years ago, The New York Times ran an article about the Judith and Martin Markovitz from Newton Township, Pennsylvania. Every Hanukkah, the Markovitz family lights a menorah and places it in the front window of their home. It stands out among all the Christmas decorations in the windows of their neighbors.

One morning, the Markovitz family awoke with a jolt at 5:00AM to the sound of breaking glass. Anti-Semitic vandals broke out the front window of the Markovitz home, and destroyed their menorah. The whole Markovitz family was shaken by the senseless hatred of this act. The next morning, after the window had been repaired, they left their home to spend the day with relatives.

Word about this violent act had quickly spread through the neighborhood. The police chief was concerned. “We are going to stand united,’’ he said. ‘‘We are not going to tolerate this.’’

That evening, the Markovitzes returned home to find almost every house in the neighborhood had a lit menorah in its front window. As Vicky, the Markovitz’s daughter said, it was their neighbors’ way of saying, “If you break their windows, you will have to break ours as well.” Vicky concluded that her neighbors’ actions meant their family wasn’t alone.

Advent brings us Hope. But let’s be clear: this is not some Pollyannaish, pie-in-the-sky hope. Advent Hope is deeper. Advent Hope is rooted in the promise God gives us to always be present with us. Advent Hope means we are never alone in this world.

As much as I hate to admit it, despite this great gift of Advent Hope, we will still have heartache and pain. We will still have days when we struggle to get out of bed. Advent Hope does not mean life will be all roses all the time. Advent Hope is so much greater than that. Advent Hope gives us the promise of Emmanuel—God is with us…always.

As we prepare for the birth of Christ, let us do so with hope in our hearts. We have hope that Christ is coming, and that he will take our brokenness and remake us, that he will take our emptiness and fill us, that he will take our hand and lead us home.

During this Advent season, my prayer is that these four weeks of waiting will change you somehow. May your awaiting Christ’s birth renew you with hope, fill you with peace, uplift you with joy, and surround you with love.

Written by Daniel Glaze
Art by Jack