Romans 8:22- 25
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
The world is full of sin, hatred, and destruction. Now, more than any time I can recall, fear is running rampant. For the early Christian’s persecution was a very real threat. In many places in the world that is a reality today and many of us feel that threat is rapidly encroaching upon our comfortable American lifestyle.
Adam was the first man, the first fruit of mankind. The pains of childbirth came as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin. We suffer, have pain, and anguish due to sin.
In the Old Testament the first fruits were the offerings required. It was an act of allegiance to God as the giver of all. When we become Christians we give our lives to Christ. Our will, our abilities, our time, our best become our first fruit offerings.
Jesus is the first fruit of the Spirit, God’s one and only son. He is the first fruit of those raised from the dead. He is the best of God’s offering to us. He is our example and our promise of hope. As we give our lives to him we become conformed in His image. This, for me, is a slow and lifelong process. I can never hope to be made perfect like him in this life time, but because of His sacrifice I am assured of His companionship for eternity. This is our adoption into royalty with the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace. It is God’s promise and our hope.
I can live this worldly life without worry knowing no matter what is in store, my God is with me. It gives me confidence to face each challenge. Not self-confidence, but God confidence. I know even death will not be the end, but a fantastic journey beyond anything I can imagine. The freedom this hope offers is a taste of what is to come. We wait patiently for the joy, peace, and love that is Christmas, that is Christ.
Lord, Thank you for your unending love and mercy. This Advent season of anticipation help us to be mindful of your greatest gift of your promise of everlasting life. As eagerly as Mary waited for Jesus to be born, let us be filled with longing for you. Fill us with joy of what our new life in you can be. Help us to always be awed by your presence in us through the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen