This Sunday marks the first week of Advent (and the first of my Christmas posts) and the first theme of the week: Hope. All of the posts this week will center around the theme of hope. Each of the other weeks also has a theme: peace, joy, and finally, love.
What is hope?
Hope is a word that is often thrown around but is difficult to define. To many hope is a feeling of optimism, an idea that something, perhaps an event, a circumstance, a relationship, is going to get better.
Hope and hard circumstances go hand in hand. For example, if I am hoping to get a new job, or hoping the day would get better tomorrow, then I am admitting that my job may be less than desirable or that I’ve had a crappy day. In other words, hope implies that something isn’t going well. Perhaps a relationship is broken, and you hold onto hope that it can get better. Maybe you have a very serious medical condition and you are hoping that it gets better. Whenever we use the word hope, we normally mean something needs to change.
Some people believe that change will come by trusting in hope itself. I’ve heard so many clichés and seen many a Pinterest pin that say “Do not lose hope” or “Hold onto Hope.” In truly dire circumstances though, hoping in hope is not enough. Maybe things won’t really get better. What if tomorrow is worse than today? I might have spent all day hoping that it would be better, but what if it isn’t? In that situation I am putting my hope in the idea that merely the dawning of a new day will bring better circumstances. It’s a wonderful thought, but what if it doesn’t? Hope in hope itself isn’t truly helpful.
And that’s good news.
You see, real hope has an object—which is just English teacher speak for “we don’t just have hope in hope, we have hope in something or someone to make a situation better.”
The news of the Christmas season is two fold—first the world is severely broken. There is famine, war, and disease, poverty, murder and discord, I probably don’t have to tell you these things, because you live in the same world I do. You’ve probably been severely hurt in your life, or the tragedies that have happened to those close to you have left you thinking that life is unfair. But there is fabulously good news: our Hope remains. That’s because God shows up to restore His broken World. He’s not some idle sadistic creator who just watches everything go to ruin. Instead, He steps on the scene and gives us great hope because He embodies it himself, in Jesus! We don’t merely hope in hope itself that things will get better. We hope in the person of Jesus who is making all things new.
I can’t wait to unpack all of the ways that Jesus gives us hope in the following posts. Stay tuned.