The Advent of Christmas is around the corner and the polar vortex of cold weather is upon us as well. The world is struggling economically and the Middle East is at war as usual. However, I find scripture promises that are great and hopeful in the midst of the winter season. Yes, the coming of the Christ child, Immanuel, God with us is very hope-filling. Moreover, there are many important promises in scripture that speak of overflowing with abundance in the midst of trial or tragedy.
David the Psalmist’s best known Psalm 23 builds us in hope even after walking through the valley of the shadow of death and darkness. He is comforting and saying fear not, for the Lord is spreading a banquet in the midst of our enemies and anointing our heads with the oil of gladness in the Holy Spirit. Also “my cup overflows.” Yes, and even goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in his house forever. Get it? Our cups, or lives are overflowing with God’s bounty, his presence, peace, love and HOPE, even in the valleys.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2Cor 1:3-7).
Paul writes to the Corinthian church regarding the comfort of God in our sufferings. We can have hope in this promise, for as 2Peter 1:4 tells us, his promises are every great and precious. Notice that just as His sufferings flow over in our lives, so also does His comfort OVERFLOW. Overflowing means a surplus or flood beyond us. Just as suffering is often beyond or too much for us, God is also saying that Christ’s comfort will be overwhelming for us. Isn’t that a great promise when we face troubles in this world?
My favorite verse in the New Testament is Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, so that you may OVERFLOW with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Here again is a promise to those who will believe. Paul has just reminded the gentiles of the prophesy of Isaiah that “the Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” (Isaiah11:10). He is speaking of Jesus Christ, born of the lineage of David, Jesse’s son. This is our great hope, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27).
We can have overflowing hope in this Advent season. Isaiah prophesies to us, that “the people walking in darkness have seen a great light…a light has dawned and enlarged the nation and increased their joy…For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the governance will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:2-3,6). He is a great and overflowing joy and light.
This Advent and Christmas be overfilled with the hope and light of your lives, be flowing over with his peace and love. AMEN