Welcome to Hope College’s third annual Advent devotional!
The theme for this year’s devotional is Come & Cheer, taken from a line in one of the best-known Advent hymns, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”:
“O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.”
On one level, this is an Advent prayer from us to God: Just as the Israelites prayed for the Messiah to come and cheer their spirits (a prayer that was fulfilled on that first Christmas morning) we now pray for Jesus Christ to come and cheer our spirits with his second coming. During the next few weeks, we’ll wait for Christmas Day as a small, seasonal way of rehearsing the church’s greater anticipation of Jesus’ second advent.
On another level, though, “come and cheer” is an invitation from God to us: During this season of preparation and celebration, when Christmas sloshes over the edges and spills into the entire month of December, we are invited to come and cheer our spirits in the presence of Emmanuel, God With Us.
It’s December, and, at Hope College, it’s December in Michigan — which means we’re in for sunless days and long nights. The “gloomy clouds” and “dark shadows” mentioned in the hymn will be all too real for us. But even here, in the bleak midwinter, God is meeting us with his invitation into Christmas joy: Come, and cheer!
If you follow along with us, every day of Advent — beginning tomorrow, December 3 — you will find a new devotional reflection by a member of the Hope College faculty and staff. (If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe.) Each scripture passage will be adapted from the Revised Common Lectionary readings for Advent.
Please join us for this Advent journey toward Christmas Day.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.