December 19, 2018

Lamentations 3:21-24; Isaiah 60:1-5

For many, the holiday season is one of darkness and difficulty. We look around and see the brokenness that marks our world. We have the scars from our journey, and the thought of tomorrow brings nothing more than anxiety and fear. But when the baby came, he brought hope to the world. Hope sees the brokenness, hope touches the scars, and hope turns toward the future with the expectation of more. Hope faces the dark horizon with conviction the sun will rise. Hope stares at the cancer diagnosis and holds on to the promise of ultimate healing. Hope looks in the face of a spouse, who is now a stranger, and believes in the promise of forgiveness. Hope looks up out of poverty with the belief there will be more tomorrow. Hope doesn’t settle for what it sees but remains awake and aware of what’s to come.

In 1985, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI) wrote that hope is built on memory: “Advent is concerned with the very connection between memory and hope.” This is not just hope, but it is Advent hope. It is the expectation God is working in our lives now, just as he did in the lives of his people in the past, and he is good for his promises still to come.