Just yesterday, while filming our Advent Sermon Series video, it struck me just how important hope is as a Christian virtue. And not just the kind of starry-eyed hope of childhood, but rather something different, something that exists between the poles of naïveté and cynicism.

Hope must be able to survive our darkest moments, fully cognizant that life doesn’t always hand us what we want. Nevertheless our hope must believe that God is still able to take those disappointments and make them something significant.

An authentic hope sees the world for what it is, filled with joy and pain, beauty and darkness, and recognizes that God will ultimately have the last word, just as he once had the first word.

Hope is not, as Eugene Peterson once said, a “fatalistic resignation,” nor a form of dreaming in which we are protected “from our boredom or our pain.” Rather, it is “a confident, alert expectation that God will do what he said he will do.” (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction)

What has God promised to us in this season of Advent? What alert expectations should we have as we continue on the paths set out before us? Of course, the answer is found in God  Himself: whose incarnation signals the great depth of His love and compassion for us. May we never lose sight of this promise.

Stu

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