This past Sunday was the second week of Advent. The word Advent comes from the Latin root 'adventus,' which means "arrival" or "to come." During the next three weeks, we are invited to slow down and become aware of God's love and grace that surrounds and sustains us.
This past Sunday we talked about the candle of Hope. According to the dictionary, hope is: "1 archaic: trust, reliance. 2 a : desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment." Through those dictionary definitions, we can see how time and culture has morphed hope. The definition of hope has shifted from "trust and reliance" to "a desire that is expected to be fulfilled." No wonder so many of us struggle with hope! What used to be grounded in trust and reliance (I would add, in God) has been transitioned to getting what we want. Never has it worked out better for me to get what I want instead of what God has for me. Even situations that I deemed "bad" or "wrong" have, over the years, turned out to be the avenue to some of my greatest blessings. Hope that is grounded in God proves sure because, despite the darkness that surrounds us, God always works for our good if we allow Him, and have eyes to recognize it. Hope that is grounded in our desires and expectations often leads to disappointment and resentment.
The disciple John reminds us that, "Through Him (Christ) all things were made, and without Him, nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of humankind. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:3-5). Therein lies true hope. Hope trusts that regardless of the darkness that is inside or surrounding us, the Light (Christ) is able to shine in and overcome it. Hope relies on a loving God to work all things for our good even when we can't see, feel or understand how that may even be possible.
This is the hope that we are invited to embrace this Christmas. The hope that The Light can and wants to overcome our own darkness and the darkness around us. This Christmas we have a choice in where we put our hope - in trusting and relying on God, or in hoping for the fulfillment our own desires and expectations. The choice we make will make all the difference - thankfully God offers us this choice time and time again if we have ears to hear it.
Reflect this week:
What am I hoping?
By Babs May-Clark