Advent 4: Hoping

When Hope Was Born

God did love the world so--
So deep I can't comprehend--
That He himself took on flesh
And humbly to earth did bend.

As a frail and needy babe,
He became like us, born of flesh.
God came down, born a man,
Humbly in a lowly crèche.

Within that newborn infant child
Are all love and joy we can find.
For in that crude manger bed
Was born the hope of all mankind.

Without hope the world is dark,
It seems like all is lost;
But all has been ransomed and redeemed,
For Christ's blood has paid the cost.


I like the idea of hope. I need the idea of hope.

Each day I see so much despair, hurting, brokenness, and struggle. I know this isn't how it is supposed to be. Each day, I have so many struggles, so many burdens I can't carry. I need the hope that I will be made whole someday.

Pastor Jan mentioned at church tonight that "hope is a function of struggle." Without struggle--without hardships--hope cannot exist. Hope would have no meaning. We've heard before how the struggles of life are good for us. They build things like character, perseverance, and hope. Of course, it matters how we proceed through our struggles. Sometimes we give up. Sometimes we give in. Sometimes we take the easy way out. Not to give us an excuse, but we are human. We don't always do the right thing. I don't always do the right thing.

But the right thing in difficult times is to persevere--to keep on doing the right thing. The right thing is to forge ahead knowing that life isn't meant to be ugly--that someday it will be redeemed, made new and perfect. The right thing is to cling to hope--not in a way that we give up, but in a way that we move ahead. Hope makes us vulnerable. It requires us to give up control. It necessitates that we place our trust in God.

This isn't always easy.  But in return God gives us strength ("but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength" (Isaiah 40:31)). This is why we wait. This is why we struggle through Advent. The newborn King brings us hope. He gives hope. He is hope. In this times of waiting, longing, and struggling, hope keeps us going. Until He returns and hope is fulfilled.

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