December 24, 2018 • Life for Leaders
. . . in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
Today is Christmas Eve. It is also the last day in the Christian season of Advent. Though many of us will begin our celebration of Christmas tonight, at least for a few more hours, our hearts remain in the spirit of Advent. So today’s devotion will, once more, focus on Advent themes.
Since I’ve been thinking recently about Ephesians when writing these Life for Leaders devotions, I’ve wondered about what in Ephesians connects to Advent. A verse in the first chapter does this rather well. It reads: “In him we were also chosen. . . in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory” (1:11-12). The Advent connection in this verse is in the description of Christians as those who “put our hope in Christ.”
Advent is a season of hope, but not just hope in general. It’s not a time to become a more hopeful person in some nondescript way. Rather, the hope of Advent is very specific. It is “hope in Christ.” We remember the hope of Israel for a messiah. And we renew our own hope for the second coming of Jesus the Messiah. We long for the day when Christ will return, bringing God’s peace for all humankind. We look forward to the time when God’s justice will fill the earth, when human beings will be free to flourish in all of life.
Our hope in Christ prepares us, as Ephesians puts it, to “be for the praise of his glory” (1:12). We praise Christ not just in our weekly worship services, not just in our coming celebration of Christmas, but in who we are and how we live. Our hope in Christ enables us to live for his glory even when life doesn’t go as we wish it did, even when our work is frustrating, even when our families don’t live up to some ideal, even when we worry about the state of our world. No matter our circumstance, we put our hope in Christ, and that empowers us to offer to him all that we are, for his glory.
Something to Think About:
Would you describe yourself as someone who hopes in Christ? Why or why not?
Would you describe yourself as someone who lives for the praise of Christ’s glory? Why or why not?
What are your hopes in Christ as you approach the celebration of Christmas?
Something to Do:
Christmas Eve is usually a busy day for all of us. But see if you can find a few minutes of quiet today. Reflect on what it means for you to hope in Christ. Ask Jesus to meet you afresh as you prepare to celebrate his birth.
Lord Jesus Christ, today, I am reminded to put my hope in you, to look ahead with anticipation to your coming, to the day when your kingdom will be fully present on earth. As I turn from Advent waiting to the celebration of your birth, I ask that you renew my hope through your Spirit. Then, with my hope centered aright, may I live for the praise of your glory in all I do. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project:
The Final Hope
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.