Today is the first Sunday of Advent: Hope
As we light the first candle of Christmastime, we are reminded of the Hope of the Season. Hope keeps our eyes ahead, our chins up, and feet moving forward, especially when our shoulders stoop and our hearts weigh heavy with weariness. But what is this hope that can buoy our spirits?
Perhaps you are familiar with Lamentations 3:22-23. That God’s mercies are new each morning and that God’s faithfulness is great. As I searched for a verse on hope, however, I was struck by the fact we often leave off the verse before this more popular pairing. We focus on God’s faithfulness. On his mercy. As we should. But we fail to note why.
This I recall to mind…
Remembering God’s faithfulness, his mercies, his goodness is something we have to work to bring back to our memories. It is so easy to forget. To lose sight of the good in the face of the difficult. So we must repeat to ourselves over and over again. Re-call. A word I enjoy using because it has such a unique take on remembering. It brings to mind a computer calling up a search that has been previously accomplished.
Therefore have I hope.
As we cling to what we remember of past faithfulness – especially when times are bleakest – hope will rekindle. Even when we don’t see good happening in our current circumstances, we can remember it happening before and that ignites hope that it will happen again. Because God’s faithfulness will never fail. He will never run out of energy. He will never have a bad day. He will never grow weary. Nor will we use up all his grace. No matter how badly we fail. His mercy is renewed each morning.
That is why we can hope. And that hope will renew our strength for another day.
If the way is dark for you today, there is light. There is hope. Even during the holidays when you may be more alone than ever before. You may be too weary to reach for it and that is okay. That is why God has placed people around us who can help. A friend, a pastor, a doctor or counselor. And please never be afraid to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 should need arise.
There is hope. I know because this verse comes from a book called Lamentations, of all names! When tears and darkness are the most heavy, remember that after centuries of silence and question, in a small town, in the place animals slept, Hope was born. That is Christmas. The light that keeps us moving forward.
What is a way you have seen God’s faithfulness or his mercy in the past? How do you bring it to mind during difficult times? How has that brought you hope?