Last Sunday we ushered in the season of Advent. Deep breath. We barely said good-bye to Thanksgiving and all its food, family, and festivities!
Somehow, Thanksgiving is easier on the soul than Advent.
In this new season, we’re asked to ponder hope in a dark world, love in the hardness of humanity, joy in an unknown journey, and peace in a world of strife. Can we just please rewind a few days back to Grandma Rose’s turkey stuffing, pilgrims, and counting our blessings?
When our kids were growing up, we took our cue from church tradition during the four weeks of Advent. At Sunday supper, we lit a candle nestled in a wreath, the first one symbolizing hope. This past Sunday morning worship, I was encouraged to embrace hope once again as the purple taper glowed in the sanctuary shadows.
Hope can just be . . . difficult. As the service moved from lighting the hope candle through praise in song, I thought about the happy faces of hope Christians expect from themselves and others. I know from experience hope runs deeper than a positive outlook.
And then the pastor’s message nailed it for me. He proclaimed:
“Optimism claims everything will be all right despite facing reality. Hope accepts reality, the poverty of spirit that underlies all fear and instigates all tragedies…and looks to something larger – hope always tries to piece together meaning in a world searching for understanding.”
Lamentations three delivers that kind of hope in which the pastor spoke.
The thought of my suffering is bitter, I will never forget this time as I count my losses. Yet, I will have hope when I remember that the love of the Lord is endless. (my paraphrase, vs. 19-22)
The understanding we are searching for is the love of Jesus Christ, the author and giver of all hope.
Are you hopeless today? Feeling like hope is slipping through your fingers? You can hope in this: Jesus loves you. His love for you is never ending.