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Third Sunday of Advent

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Third Sunday of Advent: Love Hopes

December 11, 2016

"Love . . . hopes all things." –I Corinthians 13:7


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Devotional Text

To read along with the audio, click on the red play button above and scroll below.

As the Love Chapter reaches its climax, Paul writes, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (v. 7). This verse is puzzling because at first it seems to be saying that love believes things that are irrational or false, or vainly hopes for things that will never happen.

What Paul is actually saying, however, is that because of the power and grace of the one true Love Divine, love hopes in all situations, including situations that seem completely hopeless. So we could translate I Corinthians 13:7 like this: Love “never loses faith, never exhausts hope, never gives up.”

Paul is saying that as far as love is concerned, there are no hopeless cases. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why he kept holding out hope for the Corinthians. For all the sin he saw in their lives, he still loved them enough to say, “Our hope for you is unshaken” (II Corinthians 1:7; see also 10:15).

Whenever we give up hope, this is really a failure to love, because love hopes. It hopes all things. There is no situation so dark or so desperate that hope is not there, if only we have the love of Jesus.

Love does not give up on people when they are struggling or give in to despair in the face of extreme difficulty. It does not declare that someone’s heart can never change or that a broken community can never be healed. So when a discouraging voice (maybe our own) says, “There’s no hope,” love answers back and says, “Oh, yes, there is. I know there is. There is always hope in Jesus!”

Love hopes that a broken relationship will be reconciled. It hopes that by the grace of God, sin will be forgiven, and forgiven again. It hopes that someone who has fallen away can be restored to useful service in the kingdom of God.

Love is willing to hope because it desires the very best in someone else’s life. It is able to hope because it puts its ultimate confidence in the true Love Divine, and in God’s grace for people in need.

Let Us Pray 

Father, for generations your people have placed their hope in the promised Messiah. Renew our hope in his coming, give us daily doses of your grace, and cushion us from the troubles of this life. Thank you that neither our circumstances nor our feelings define us, but rather a hope rooted in your unshakable love.
—Paul O. Chelsen ’91, Vice President for Student Development


Reflective Question

Are there any situations or people in our lives for whom we in danger of losing hope?


About the Art

Art featured at the top of the page is courtesy of Hand & Cloth, an organization founded in 2007 by Sarah Aulie Ρουμπά ’04 that partners with global artisan groups and ministries to provide dignified, dependable employment for at-risk women in Bangladesh. The kantha dorokhas pictured here follow an ancient Bengali tradition in which women lovingly stitch together pieces of reclaimed cloth to create one-of-a-kind quilts for their families. The quilts beautifully embody Hand & Cloth’s mission to celebrate the creative, artisanal, and lovingly rendered work of women’s hands and their prayer that each women would come to know her special place in the world as the unique product of God’s loving handiwork.


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