Do you ever feel hopeless about the world in which we live? Every day we’re inundated with bad news about our world: violence, war, poverty, disease, starvation. How are we going to feed the growing population of the world? How are we going to house the growing number of homeless? How are we going to heal a sick environment? How are we going to stop teen suicide? How are we going to find a pathway to peace? There is a growing sense of hopelessness among many in the world today. Our challenges are so big that we’re tempted to throw up our hands in despair.
St. Paul once said that when the dust of this life settles what remains are faith, hope and love. While love trumps them all, hope is a gift worth treasuring. Hope is a powerful thing. Hope is trusting that things will work out, even when you can’t see how it’s possible.
The season of Advent focuses our hearts and minds on Jesus, God’s gift of hope. Jesus’ birth into this world proclaims that we are never alone, never unloved. In Jesus we see that God is with us and that God is for us. But the hope that God has birthed into this world in Jesus is so much bigger than you and me. It’s hope for the whole world. No, actually it’s even bigger than that; it’s hope for the cosmos, for all of creation. Our hope is not merely in what God has done in Jesus’ birth; it’s also in what God promises to do for us and for all creation through the risen Christ. God in Christ is making all things new, restoring and reconciling all things in ways we can see and in ways we cannot. In Christ the trajectory of all creation is toward light, life and wholeness. We live in the hope that one day all that sin has destroyed will be made well. That’s our hope, and hope is a powerful thing.
And because we are a people who trust in Christ and the promise of hope, we are a people who refuse to give up. The airwaves may be filled with bad news, but we are a people who believe the Good News of God in Christ and are empowered to proclaim it with our words and our actions. You can’t solve world hunger, but you can feed a hungry child. You can’t create world peace, but you can be a peace-maker with your neighbor. You can’t solve the environmental crisis, but you can make wise choices. You can’t eliminate teen suicide, but you can mentor a teenager. You can’t eliminate the darkness, but you can bear the light.
This Advent season reflect on the gift of hope. And then take that hope into the darkness of the world, wherever you live, work, play or go to school. Hope is a gift, and a gift worth giving.
Need a little hope today? I love the way that this song by Gungor reminds us of our hope in Christ. Take a moment to watch it here.
Jeff Marian is the Lead Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN.