Fall 1943. The Sears, Roebuck Christmas catalog arrived in the morning mail. Nine-year old Brother gets his hands on it first because he brought the mail in from the postbox. He is lying on the living room floor engrossed in dreams of what might be when six-year old Sister wanders in and demands to see the new catalog.
Brother, rapt in study of the offerings and wrapped in complete self-interest, denies Sister's request. She in turn appeals to higher authority and Mama soon advises Brother that he will have to share. "But," she tells them both, "don't get your hopes set too high. Study the book and choose carefully. Here, Sissie. Saturday you may draw a ring around one, ONE, item with a red crayon. Buddy, you may draw a ring around one item with a blue crayon. That's it; then hope for the best."
Saturday morning. Brother has already made up his mind so he gets the book and quickly circles his choice. After breakfast, after the table is cleared, after all have gone about their respective chores, Sister takes the book, places it carefully in the center of the dining room table, takes her red crayon and carefully draws a ring around the book! The table covering is oilcloth, so no permanent damage. Yet note how much greater the wishes than the hope Sissie was offered!
This catalog is not called "The Wish Book" for nothing. There is a vast difference between wishes and hope. For the Hebrew people prior to the time of Christ the hope they harbored in the coming of a Redeemer was grounded in the promises of God. For centuries they awaited the coming of The Messiah. God is faithful and we know that He fulfilled his promise in Jesus whom we call The Christ.
"For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." --John 3:16
We observe Advent to celebrate the birth of Jesus in Judea two millennia ago. We are reminded to be ready for the Second Advent!
the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice
of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ
shall rise first: Then
we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in
the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with
the Lord" -- I Thessalonians 4:16,17
Jesus said, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man comes." --Matthew 24:44
We have this hope through faith in Jesus Christ. Someone once said, "Faith is not believing God can; faith is knowing that He will." And so it is. Amen