“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13, NASB).
In Romans 15:13, Paul references joy, peace, and hope in the reverse order of the Advent calendar. He states that joy and peace come from God and make possible His provision of hope. Advent begins with hope and progresses to peace, then joy.
We cannot produce our own joy, the exultation within us that does not depend upon our circumstances. Sam Storms says, “Joy is not necessarily the absence of suffering, it is the presence of God.”
With Him, we have joy. With Him, we have peace.
Like joy, peace also comes from God. The peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) comes to us in our worst, not our best times. Peace remains only when we keep our eyes on Him and don’t focus on our circumstances.
When we look back to see His provision and care for us, we can look ahead with faith and trust that He will continue to be good even if times become harder. That’s hope.
Advent is a time to draw near to God. We ponder the hope of His coming at Christmas as we look toward His coming again. We find peace and joy even in the turmoil of a world darkened because it has turned from Him.
The world is dark now. It was dark then too.
Christ is the light shining through the darkness.
The darkness will not overcome His light.
In that knowledge, we find joy and peace and hope.