hope. Advent 2015 Week One
In a world that clamors noisily as the holidays approach, we are a people craving quiet and simple joys. We desire a way to pause sweet moments and soak it all in…to fast forward through the endless to-dos…the shopping and baking and wrapping. At the end of each busy day, all we really want is for it all to mean something.
We desire to fill this deep, aching cavern within us. This craving we can’t seem to satiate. All the activities and festivities just aren’t doing it. And all the running, buying, cooking and cleaning wear us down to the bone. But we aren’t filled up.
And it can feel hopeless, this endless running around. This searching for meaning. We put up our nativities and we proclaim that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” And we rail when the school has a “holiday” party in order to be politically correct.
But it isn’t finding the right gift or having enough goodies or matching Christmas place mats. It isn’t even dusting off our Nativity and displaying a manger. It isn’t about waving our swords and lamenting liberties lost to Christians in the name of tolerance and open minds.
Not one of these things can fix this gaping hole in us. No one can take it from us…and no one can give it to us.
This hope that burns bright when every other light seems to be waning.
When the funds run out before the monthly bills are paid. When the wayward child seems to be straying farther and farther. When the betrayal cuts deep. When the pain of loss is still so sharp and cutting.
When night seems darkest…we need to light that first advent candle most.
We live in this world full of troubles and cares. But Jesus came, and when He did, He promised us that He’d overcome the world. And He did!
As we celebrate His first coming, we gaze down in wonder at the manger. Where the KIng of all mankind…our very creator…chose to come down to us. It was the humblest of ways to begin His earthly journey. This King…He desired to walk the journey right alongside us, carrying our same load.
Yet our gaze can’t stop there. We must tear our eyes from the wood of the manger…and look ahead to the blood stained wood of a cross.
This journey. The road He walked from stable to Calvary. That. That is where our hope lies.
This year, we’ve simplified even the very rituals of our advent. Simplified each week down to a simple word.
And the first is HOPE.
Where does your hope lie this Christmas season? Through your trials and triumphs and this crazy journey, can you look ahead in hope? To a deliverance by a loving Savior?
I challenge you to cross off one thing from your to-do list…and spend that time getting to know Him. Because that sweet babe, lying in a smelly stable? He became a man with arms outstretched to take on your sin…your fear…your failure…your hopelessness.
Because He is, indeed, our hope.