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Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
December 3, 2010

TV ads and Advent hope

Do blaring television commercials bother you? The next time a TV ad shocks you with its excessive noise, remember today’s PBS report that Congress is acting on the issue. The House gave final approval yesterday to a bill that would require the Federal Communications Commission to coordinate ad decibel levels to those of the regular program. The bill’s provisions will not take effect for another two years, but at least there’s hope for our jangled nerves.

Hope is essential to life. That’s why I’m glad that Advent begins each year with the “week of hope.” We have learned this week to place our hope in God’s unfailing love and his certain promises. We will close today with his assurance of a glorious future.

In Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Fantine is a young single mother without a job, a place to stay, or a way to support her child. If you’ve seen the musical, you’ll remember her haunting song, titled “I Dreamed a Dream”: I had a dream in time gone by / When hope was high / And life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die / I dreamed that God would be forgiving.

But her love has died, and she believes that her God is not forgiving. And so she ends: I had a dream my life would be / So different from this hell I’m living / So different now from what it seemed / Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

As fallen people living in a fallen world, her experience is all too common. But God’s word promises that “the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish” (Psalm 9:18). Paul promised the Romans, “In this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:24-25). Later he encouraged his readers to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Scripture assures us that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). No matter what comes your way today, remember that your future is as bright as the promises of God. If you choose to live for your King on earth, you can know that your reward in his Kingdom is eternal.

We considered C. S. Lewis’s reflection on hope earlier in this series. Let’s close by listening to him once more: “The Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. . . . It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven, and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.”

At what are you aiming today?

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