An Advent Devotional from Seacoast Church
December 21

The One Hoped For

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.
Numbers 24:17 (ESV)

One of my favorite aspects of Advent is that it is about more than Jesus’s birth. Advent is about anticipation. It recalls the ancient Israelites longing to see their Messiah come, the One who would free them from their oppressors. We reenact that anticipation as we count down the days to Christmas, and the arrival of the One hoped for.

Advent anticipates more than Jesus’s first coming; it also looks to his return. When we celebrate Jesus’s arrival on earth we are meant to remember that he has promised to come again. His first coming was humble and witnessed by a very few, but his second will be in power and glory and witnessed by the entire world.

I love Numbers 24:17, not just because of the imagery of the star and scepter, but because of how it begins: “I see him, but not now. I behold him, but not near.” Those words, uttered not by an Israelite prophet but by an enemy, capture perfectly our own reality.

Through the Gospels and through the Holy Spirit within us, we can see and behold Jesus in ways those living before him could only imagine. Although we are able to experience Jesus in powerfully real ways, we still perceive a distance, a “not yet” aspect of our relationship with him.

Advent is the celebration of his first coming, because it fulfilled his promises to his people to set them free. It’s a chance to celebrate in advance because God is faithful and will come again just as he has promised.

He came and he will come again. None of us beheld the star that first Christmas, yet one day we will witness him coming on the clouds as he returns in power, our King forever.

Share with friends


  1. Did you know that Advent is also meant to anticipate Jesus’s Second Coming? How does that change your view of the season?
  2. When did you last feel the “not yet” aspect of your relationship with God? What did he teach you in that season?

Share Your Blessing

  1. In anticipation of celebrating Christmas, invite someone to join you for a Christmas Eve service. 
  2. Make a difference for a child in foster care, by providing a Journey Bag full of essential and comfort items for when a child must transition from their home without these belongings. Grab a tag from your campus and fill a backpack with the items listed by January 10.


Come experience one of our Christmas Eve candlelight services as we remember the birth of Jesus with music, a message, and fun.
See Service Times
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