Alison Wilson, Nov 28, 2021, 4:58 PM
Alison Wilson

First Sunday of Advent: Hope

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:2

As we embark on this season of advent, the purposeful slowing down posture of spiritual preparation for Christmas, the picture that keeps coming to mind is that of a sunrise. Here in Canada, this time of year is full of some of the most beautiful and prolific sunrises. The sunrise along with the sunset serves as a reminder of beauty and hope, along with the daily rhythm of beginning and ending during the darkest days of the year. It feels as if everything is just put on pause in these ordinary, majestic moments. The world is silent and half asleep as beauty unfolds and darkness turns to light.

All creation waits.

Has it felt dark and uncertain at moments this past year? There seems to be more anxiety, more tension, more polarization, more extreme circumstances in every direction we turn.  And yet, this reminder of HOPE reorients our hearts to the one thing that remains constant through the ages: JESUS. In all of His glorious humanity. Coming in the most humble and messy form in the most un-ideal of circumstances to bring abundant love and reconciliation into this broken world. A baby. Embodied and miraculous. Holy, sacred and full of wonder.  Born into the mess of the world in order to save it.

Jesus, hope of the world.

"And again, Isaiah says, 'The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.' May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Romans 15:12-13

Hope is defined as a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment. It's far from the feel-good emotions of eternal optimists but rather a deep spiritual discipline often begging us to lean in closely to the promises of God during some of the darkest times of our lives. Sometimes we refer to this as "living in the tension."  As followers of Jesus, this is the space we occupy in the now and the not yet Kingdom of God. When it least makes sense, when it feels like humanity is broken beyond repair, we lean into Hope.

Jesus, hope of the world.

Lord, we posture ourselves in this place of hope. We look to you through all of the chaos, mess, unanswered questions, pain and disappointment. We know that you are the only unwavering and all sustaining thing in this world. Would you bleed through our circumstances and like the sunrise, breathe stillness and the promise of a new day? Would you centre our hearts on Your Holy Spirit and open our eyes and ears during this season of advent? Help us to embody Your hope in this world. We remember forwards as we long for your presence and rescue. Thank you Jesus for being our one true hope.
Jesus, hope of the world.

1/Definition taken from Merriam-Webster online dictionary.