First Advent. We lit the candle of hope today.
What does the word “hope” mean to you?
The online Merriam-Webster defines “hope” as follows:
- to expect with confidence
- a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment
- hope implies little certainty but suggests confidence or assurance in the possibility that what one desires or longs for will happen.
Why do we place so much importance on hope? Have you heard any of the following sayings?
- When hope is lost, all is lost.
- Hope is the last to go.
- When all you have is hope…
- I hope… (at the beginning of a sentence)
The opposite of hope is despair. Take a look at the synonyms of “despair:”
anguish, desperation, discouragement, gloom, misery, pain, sorrow, dejection, forlornness, tribulation, just to name a few.
Hope rises in importance when reading through these synonyms, doesn’t it? The Bible tells us God and His Word are our source of hope:
“You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.” Psalm 119:114
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:14
My circumstances might cause me anguish and pain, discourage or deject me, but I still have hope. My hope is not dependent on my circumstances. My hope has a source, an anchor. God himself.
“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!” Psalm 42:11
“Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” Psalm 25:5
Do I always get it right? No. Do I ever get discouraged? Yes, I do. In those times, I’m reminded of Psalm 94:19:
“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”
This first week of Advent reminds us of the hope that is available to all of us. We’ve got to go the source though, to God himself.
The Advent story
of hope and mystery,
of this world and the next,
and a king
appearing when we least expect.
Heaven touching earth,
the footsteps of the divine
walking dusty roads
as once they did in Eden,
and a people,
searching for a Saviour,
and walking past
Open eyes and hearts,
that this might be
an Advent of hope to the world.*
It is my prayer that you will have confident hope, that you will renew your hope if its flame is weakened, and that you will look to the source of all hope.
Happy First Advent!