Holding on to Hope

Welcome to A Scarlet Cord of Hope, the 2021 advent series of University Fellowship Church Women written and read by Jaime Sherman, who penned our Christmastime narratives from biblical, Jewish, and historical sources to tell how God wove hope from creation to the creche and who continues to point us to the final fulfillment of hope in the one-day-soon second coming of Jesus Christ. Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

today’s suggested reading

Revelation 7:9-17

Today’s Audio

Welcome to the best birthday celebration of the year! Today we remember that more than 2,000 years ago God wrapped Himself with humanity and came to earth as a baby boy to fulfill a long-standing promise to His image bearers. He came as the Prince of Peace to calm a worried world. As Christ the Lord, the Promised One, to rule. As Jesus, Son of the Most High, to submit. As the Morning Star to push out all darkness. And as the Lamb of God to atone for the sins of His people.

Back in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of time, God promised that He would send a rescuer to crush the enemy and make all things right again. And through our advent journey, we have traced this hope from Adam and Eve in the Garden, to Noah and his family in the ark, to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph beginning a great nation, to Moses and the Israelites learning to live in God’s best for them, to Rahab, Ruth, Hannah, Samuel, David and the prophets sharing in the promised line of the Messiah, and finally to Zechariah and Elizabeth waiting for a child in their old age, one who would announce “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Their lives — and those of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna, and the wisemen — testify of God’s faithfulness and of a hope firmly anchored in Him, and while their hope was realized in the birth of Jesus Christ, our advent journey isn’t over yet. God continues to weave the scarlet cord of hope into our lives and to a future date when Jesus will come to earth a second time — the final time — to establish a permanent kingdom under His eternal rule and reign.

Because we can trace God’s faithfulness since the beginning of time, our hope is a confident expectation, not a fleeting wish. It’s a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul that can encourage us to hold fast in the midst of hardship (Hebrews 6:18-19), knowing that what God says He will do He will do with all power and authority.

As we move from this Christmas season and anticipate a new year full of many unknowns, may we hold firmly to the promise of Jesus’ second coming and the future day when we will join a multitude from every nation in voicing our praise before the King of kings. 

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
“Therefore they are before the throne of God,
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
    and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 7:9-17

While we don’t know the exact date of His arrival on planet earth, our yearly tradition of celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25 was chosen by Constantine in 336. It took until the ninth century for this annual festival to become a major religious holiday. Many scholars believe Jesus was actually born in the spring closer to Passover because the shepherds wouldn’t have been tending their flocks in the open fields in December. But, thankfully, our celebration of Jesus’ long-foretold birth has nothing to do with the season of His arrival. It has everything to do with the fulfillment of God’s promise to send a rescuer to His people, and it points to a day in the future when He will return to set all things right.

today’s Song

  • Click here for the season’s full playlist and other song recommendations.

Jaime Sherman is a writer and editor for ufcwomen.blog but most importantly a child of the King of kings, the wife of one amazing man for nearly 20 years, and mama of five girls and one boy. Learn more about her adventure in writing and enjoy some free resources on our main page for this series.