When we have finished eating dinner tonight, but before we serve up bowls of ice cream (for our weekly tradition of “Ice Cream Sunday”), we’ll light the first candle on our Advent wreath and talk about hope with our Littles.
Kids are naturals at hope. (It seems to come as easily to them as waking up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday).
Eventually, though, it gets harder to hope, at least to hope for things that matter. It even starts to feel silly or foolish. How can anyone who has glimpsed the brokenness of the world and experienced the disappointment which that brokenness serves up, possibly continue to hope?
Cynicism is an easier option.
Yet God’s Story is filled with words of hope, words that ask us to dare to believe in something bigger than what we see in front of us. Words that ask us to hope—and to trust—that one day things will look differently, that death will be swallowed up, that swords will be beaten into ploughshares, that nations will train for war no more, that all will be made new.
I want those words to be true. I desperately want them to be true. But do I dare to hope that they really are? Can we hope, even in the midst of doubts? Can hope bud and blossom in unlikely places?
As we move closer to the manger this Advent, to the Source of Hope, maybe one of the risks we can take is to live as hopeful people. To lean into those promises of what God will do, and live as if they are already coming true.
Because I think they are. Even if we can’t always see how.
Maybe by living in hope, we might just get to be agents of hope. Agents of promises being fulfilled.
Prayer for Lighting the Candle:
God who meets us in the brokenness of our world and of our lives, we pray that this light would remind us that you are the source of hope. Increase our capacity to imagine with you a world that is different. Grant us the courage to hope and the generosity to offer that hope to others this day, this week.
In the name of the Triune God,