Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Waiting is Hard, But the Hope is Secure

The first candle around the Advent wreath symbolizes Hope. It tells the stories of the Old Testament prophets and the heavenly promises they foretold.

Hope? When I read these prophecies and think about the thousands of years on Earth before Christ entered as a human baby, I don't think of hope, I think of waiting and wandering, complaining and compromising. The word hope comes to mind as I see the story unfold. The angels, the fear, the promise, the journey, the glorious announcements. My faith in God's story seems to require some sight. And that is not right.

What the God of the universe set into motion when the Earth, just born, was tainted by sin--it can only be described as Hope. Back in Eden, Adam and Eve most likely felt fear, anxiety and gloom. Their future was no longer garden-fresh and secured, but colored by toil and sin.

Skip ahead a few thousand years and I feel the same. Where waiting is hard and hope is just another word to describe the fear and the feelings all jumbled inside. And I know I'm not the only one. . .  How do we get to the point in this life where anticipation brings joy and not stress or disdain?

Anna and Simeon knew how to hope. They longed to see the Lord's promised Messiah; the fulfillment of prophecies from Micah and Isaiah. (Read Luke 2:22-39) They had waited; God's Hope came down.

So this is what I think: It is not up to us to hope. If it were, our expectations would ever be dashed. It is our job to call on the One who is and was and will be our Hope. He is the One they were waiting for, thousands of years ago. And He is the One we are waiting for, today. If there's one thing to learned from Advent this year, it's this: The waiting is hard, but the Hope is secure.

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