As we began the celebration of Advent in 2020, I so hoped that the world would be in a different place this year. And yet, we still live in a world of hurt, suffering, self-interest, and struggle.
But if we can have a little perspective, then we realize that this is the human experience. And because this is the human experience, we have a clearer sense of why God became flesh to dwell among us.
And so, I invite you to center your hearts on this season of Advent by recognizing the gifts that God gives us to face such time. We begin with hope.
As Anne Lamott put it, "Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. So you wait and watch and work: You don't give up."
To the ancients who first heard the message that Messiah would come to the people hundreds of years later that saw the fulfillment of those promises, they had one thing in common: a human longing for divine intervention.
Comparison is an unhealthy psychological exercise. However, it does reshape our understanding and perspective of our circumstances. So, imagine that the people who first heard of God’s Messiah to come were a people amid destruction and exile at the hands of the Babylonians. Ripped from their homes and taken to a foreign land, these exiled Hebrew people desired God to intervene.
In some regards, we can resonate as we have been ripped from our regular lives and into these 19+ months of crippled experience, sickness, loss, distance from relatives and loved ones, and a limitation to physical interaction with our faith community. Yet, we all long for something better.
Hope is grounded in human longing. It is the recognition that the solution does not come from our hands and minds alone but from our Creator that loves us and desires to bring wholeness to our lives.
Hope means to live in a state of anticipation for something better. It’s looking forward because you can look backward and see God’s work. In turn, we look forward with faith, knowing that we have a living hope in Christ.
This Advent season, will you recognize and embrace the hope brought through Christ?
Will you allow Jesus to bring new life to your heart, mind, and soul? Christ is hope. Can you accept this gift from God?
As Brother Lawrence put it, “Many things are possible for the person who has hope. Even more is possible for the person who has faith. And still more is possible for the person who knows how to love. But everything is possible for the person who practices all three virtues.”