Hope

2020. The year that feels like a decade.
Hope seems elusive this year, 
the truth is, 
for many it’s a concept best saved for another time.
A time without so much disappointment and loss.
The cost of hope this year is massive.

The world scoffs at our hope.
“Nice joke. Welcome to reality, though. This is 2020.”
Despair seems much more familiar this year. 
Like an old ratty, torn and stained sweatshirt, 
it might be comfy, but it sure is ugly.
Hope. Peace Joy. Love. Light.
“Save those for another year. This is 2020.”

We are living in a world that desperately needs hope.
A holy rope to cling to.
It is our gift to the crying world.
The sighing world.
Hope is what we have to offer this dying world.

700 years they waited in hope.
Waiting for the fulfillment.
To see if Isaiah’s words still meant truth or were just wishful thinking.
Isaiah and other prophets spoke and then.
400 years of silence. 

Five decades passed.
In silence.
And with each decade, the hope grew dimmer.
From a boil to a simmer.
It seemed a little more of a stretch that Isaiah’s words held water.
The bubbles of hope slowed.
And doubt crept in.

Did the people wonder if Isaiah had lost it?
Or was it they who had tossed their logic, for believing him?
For trusting that the words he spoke centuries ago would come to be.
Were they just crazy?
How long would they wonder?
How long would they wait?
The world full of silence. 
For 400 years.
Tears and decades of waiting.
The promise fading.
Israel … on the verge of losing all hope.

But hope shushes doubt.
It speaks into the silence “I believe!”
Words of pain and possibility and promise 
sometimes whispered from the heart.
Or sometimes screamed wildly
into the unknown.

And then…
You acted on behalf of those who were waiting on you.
Those in the waiting.
It was the Fullness of Time.
Finally!

And we are here, two millennia and two decades in the waiting.
The same doubt
The same hope.
When will you act again on our behalf, oh God?

In the chaos of 2020, we lift our eyes to rest on you.
You are our hope.
In the loss and disappointment and division and pain,
You are our hope.
In the midst of this season of busy and doing,
You are our hope.
We slow. We pause. We hold our breath in anticipation.
The waiting is hard, but it is holy.
We invite you into the waiting.

We believe.
The Fullness of Time will happen again.
This is our hope.
You are our hope.

Jesus.


Advent is a season of the liturgical year observed in most Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas and the return of Christ at the Second Coming.

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