Hold Out Hope: New and Ancient Tidings
One of the peculiarities of Advent is that we’re preparing for something that happened over 2000 years ago—Jesus was born, and we give thanks for that! But if this event is done and over, if we simply remember a beautiful moment in time: where is the hope?
Happily for us, Advent is also about what’s coming. It’s a preparation for what is not quite here yet—God’s promised Kin-dom. We see glimmers of hope in spontaneous compassion and justice endeavors. We see it in the greater understanding and appreciation of difference (in so many realms), rejoicing in the Divine’s creativity. We even see it looking to the past and remembering stories where hope shone through.
We often use the word hope to name wishes or describe optimism or wishes (“I hope you have a good day!”), but recent research has defined hope more as the ability to set goals and work toward them with a purpose. Founding Director of the Hope Research Center at the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Chan Hellman, states, “Hope is the belief that your future will be better than today and you have the power to make it so.” For Christians, this includes God’s world—God has given us the hope to build the Kin-dom or Shalom of God on earth. Jesus showed us the way, and God’s presence is always with us in this work. We remember that keenly this time of year as we prepare for Christ’s birth: Emmanuel, God-with-us.
As we Hold out Hope to one another this Advent, you’ll be invited into ponderings with scripture, with community, within yourself: what image of hope is the Holy One holding out to you? What goals does hope drive you toward right now? How will you make it so?
In Advent hope,