Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Advent Reflections - November 29

Hope

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
those origins are from of old, 
from ancient times.

                                                                     Micah 5:2



Reflection

It's hard to have patience in a fast food culture. There are not many aspects of life for which we welcome waiting. I suppose that's one of the negative side effects to instantaneous gratification. And perhaps that's why we seem to have so little hope in the world today....because one of the most essential aspects of having hope is to also have patience. Patience involves waiting and waiting takes time. We wait. We hope. We wait longer. We lose patience. We wait even longer. We lose hope.  

We hope for a lot of things in the course of life's journey. We hope for our families to be healthy. We hope for our children to grow up and find fulfillment and joy. We hope for that new job and wait for a response. We hope for political and social change in an unstable world. We hope for financial security. We hope for the tumor to disappear and wait for a miracle. We hope for peace and wait for an end to war. We hope. We wait. We hope for the things that we desire most. Hope is a passion that runs deep within all of us, manifests itself in joy and carries us forward in times of trial. 

But despite the origins of hope, things don’t always happen according to when we would like them to. Sometimes the things that we hope for take more time than we're comfortable with. We hope. We wait. And we wait even longer. Sometimes the passage of time means that our hope dwindles. And sometimes it seems that hope is completely lost.  

The people of Israel had hope. They hoped for a savior that God had long ago promised them through the prophets. For hundreds of years the Israelite people held on to the hope of a coming ruler that would emerge from the small and obscure town of Bethlehem. Generation after generation read the words of Micah 5:2 among their families and communities and anticipated its fulfillment. A long time would pass as they waited and God seemed to remain silent. Hope must have dwindled as each year passed. Hope. Time. Waiting. Patience. Silence. Hope.

As you spend this quiet time with God, allow him to let your hope be renewed. Whatever you hope for in life, no matter how long you’ve waited, let it begin anew today. Let your patience be refreshed and your discouragements diminish. Let the the truth of Advent be a powerful proof for you that God keeps His promises and we indeed have reason for hope.  

Prayer

God, in you we live, in you we have faith, and in you we hope. Renew our hope this day and enable us to rest in the hope that was fulfilled through Your Son, Jesus Christ coming into the world.

Amen