The first week of Advent is Hope. Who doesn’t want some of that? The Old Testament is full of the promises of God to His people.
Why? To bring them hope for the future. Hope was coming in the form of a baby.
I have been without hope. One of the parts of the depression I have dealt with this past year was the lack of hope. I had no hope that things would change. None. I would simply have to live like this in my situation and it would never be better. Never. It was awful. “Without vision, the people perish.” Of course they do–without a vision of a better way, a better life, a better faith, there is nothing to live for, no hope for the future.
No wonder Mary sang the Magnificat: “My soul magnifies the Lord!” What the people of Israel had hoped for, through the exile, return, the prophets, and the 400 years of silence–it was finally coming to pass. What He said, was really happening!
So many times this past year my prayer was simply, “I believe, help me in my unbelief!” It was all I had, the faith that hope was there, whether I could see it or not. And I would search for any gift from the Father–a sunset, a walk with a friend, any good and perfect gift, however small, from Him. For any flicker of light in the darkness. And the seed faith and hope that He was “A light shining in the darkness and the darkness could. not. overcome. it.”
So if you are without hope, or if you are hanging on to hope by a thread, or if you are full of hope, let’s usher in a week of hope with praise and thanksgiving! Thankful that hope is here. Hope is coming. Hope in the form of Jesus lives in you. Even if all you can muster is a tiny whispered “thank you,” shine that light in your darkness.
So expect the Advent of Hope. This is not exactly a traditional song of Advent, but quite appropriate for the Advent of Hope: “Come as you are…come taste the grace, there’s rest for the weary…rest that endures, earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t cure…”