A Window Into Hope
And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You (Psalm 39:7 NKJV).
On this first Sunday morning of Advent, we light the candle of Hope. Hope is closely tied to the word advent, which derives from a Latin word that means “coming” or “arrival.” On this day we begin our own spiritual journey of Advent as we enter into a season of waiting for the celebration of the “coming,” the “arrival,” of Jesus’ birth.
I remember the hope that I felt as I waited for the birth – the “coming,” the “arrival” – of each of my two children. I dug through my email inbox this afternoon and found the week-by-week emails I received about my son Jack’s development when I was pregnant with him. The first email, Week 6, told me he was the size of a lentil bean; that he was forming a brain, muscles, and bones; and that his tiny heart had begun to beat.
Mary had no email from Baby Center to keep her up to date on her baby’s development. When she was six weeks pregnant, I wonder what she felt. She had no idea that baby Jesus was the size of a lentil bean. There was no link she could click for advice about morning sickness. By week six she was just beginning to realize that the angel’s words to her were coming true. It wasn’t a dream. She was going to have a baby. God’s baby.
Hope is not blind optimism. I know that. I know Mary had moments of doubt and fear, but just for a moment, imagine what it must have been like for Mary to sit at her bedroom window with her hand over that sacred secret growing in her belly. Imagine her as she sunk into the wonder of knowing that the tiny spark of life inside her was made up of miniscule cells that were dividing and multiplying and tumbling together to create God-made-human, to create hope for a broken world.
God, thank you for the hope of Advent. Thank you for a time to remember that the Hope of this whole world was once the size of a lentil bean growing inside a teenage girl. Thank you for the opportunity to remember those times when we waited expectantly for the coming, the arrival, of something our hearts longed for. Please scrub the layers of disappointment, pain, fear, and cynicism from the windows of our souls so that we can once again see the promise of Hope.