When we were children, we hoped for our long-awaited presents on Christmas morning. Every year, we hoped for short school days and long summers full of friends and fun. We hoped for fun family vacations, our favorite foods at meal time, excitement, happiness, and security. We had hope.
Sometimes, at times our hopes were crushed. Our classes seemed to last forever, summer went too fast, vacations were cancelled, mom decided to cook liver and broccoli, friends moved away, families broke up.
Last Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent. As many of you know, there are five candles in an Advent wreath that symbolize hope, love, joy, and peace. Just think about the power of these words. Hope, love, joy, peace. The center candle is, of course, the Christ Candle. Jesus Christ in our world makes all of these things possible.
Hope is a powerful thing. Hope can make hard times bearable. As adults, we hope to finish school, for better jobs, big families, a winning lottery ticket, growth in our churches and growth in our finances.
Unfortunately, hope sometimes seems hard to find. We have to drop out of school, we lose jobs, our marriages crumble, our churches decline and our finances are depleted.
Mark 13:24-27 says, “But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”
What do we do when our hopes are unfulfilled? We continue to hope. We do not hope to run away or escape. We hope to see the fulfillment of hope. We hope to see the Son of Man. We hope to see Jesus Christ. We hope to become. We to become the hands and feet of Christ in a dark and evil world. We hope to become the love of God to those who feel unloved. We hope to become the source of joy to others through our service and by our presence. We can become instruments of God’s hope, love, joy, and peace in our homes, workplaces, churches, and communities.
In this Advent Season, we sing, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel because we long to be people of God. We long to become people of hope.