Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:1-9).
As the Nativity of Our Lord approaches, Advent anticipation increases. But have you ever stopped to think how fortunate we are to be living "after the fact?" Think about it, we are people who live by faith, no doubt about that, but we have the events of the past which give us hope for the future. Events like the Son of God taking on flesh to dwell with His people. Events like the Son of God being led into the desert to face our temptation. Events like the Son of God conquering sin, death, and the devil by his innocent suffering and death, and his glorious resurrection. We look back at historic events which have eternal and lasting positive consequences. You see, because of those events, our view of the future is changed.
But what about our Old Testament brothers and sisters? All of the events mentioned above were "yet to come." In fact, they were the very events that for them were hoped for, events about which they had their own Advent Anticipation. And yet, we are not that different.
No matter where we fall on the timeline of History, that timeline tells "His-Story," that is, the story of God's involvement in time and place for the redemption of His people. Therefore, no matter where a person falls on the timeline of History, God's people have always looked back at previous events to give them hope for their future.
The psalmist exhorts God's people to sing a new song, for for "he has done marvelous things." You see, even for our Old Testament brethren, they could recall the marvelous deeds of God's previous involvement in the redemption of His people--events like Noah and the ark; events like the Exodus out of Egypt and God's involvement to rescue them at the Red Sea. All of these marvelous deeds, and more, changed the way God's Old Testament people viewed the future.
Because of God's marvelous deeds of the past, all of God's people are given a glorious hope of the future, for all of God's deeds served as parts of the plan of redemption--which is why our Advent anticipation is one of joy. For at Christmas we know that God is present with his people, in order to save his people. And that gives us hope for an eternity to come. Amen.