Hope: A Meditation on the First Sunday of Advent

The people walking in darkness

    have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of deep darkness

    a light has dawned. – Isaiah 9:2

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:5

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12

So appropriate that the herald of Jesus

Was a star

How deep the darkness of our world

And how desperate our need for light

Now as then

We long for a light that shatters the darkness of our world

A goodness that is so pure it is akin to bright light

For darkness cannot remain where light shines

The dark is powerless against the light

Hope

The first candle of advent

A once and future hope

A savior who came and is coming again

So we light our small flame as a symbol

For even a little light disperses the shadows

Bringing warmth to a cold room

Reminding us that He alone is the cure to our constant anxiety

The despair that sometimes threatens to overwhelm

For our hope is not in something that might or might not be

It is not the same as our hope for a clear day

When the forecast calls for rain

No, it is a better hope

The hope of prophecy already fulfilled

A Messiah already born and dead and risen

Defeating death itself

That darkness none of us escape

This hope is like the hope in a father who says he will return

Only better because even that father might be waylaid

By circumstances out of his control

But our God is never waylaid

And nothing is outside of his control

He is never surprised

And has kept every promise He has ever made

We rest in that promise

Even as we walk through the valley of the shadow

He is not some distant God

One whom we have to work hard to please

He is rather closer than our next breath

He does not just love us

He IS love

Offering new life freely

A gift of the very best kind

The kind that never tarnishes, fades, or crumbles

A gift that cannot be stolen

A joy that cannot be diminished

For ultimately our hope is not FOR something future

But IN someone present

His still small voice reminding us

“The light shines in the darkness

And the darkness has not overcome it.”

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