HOPE GLIMMERS IN THE DARKNESS: WAITING WITH HOPE
Scripture for the First Sunday in Advent
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
All of today’s scripture verses include pleas for help- “Oh, that you would tear open the heavens and come down” (Isaiah 64:1), pleas for restoration- “Restore us, O God… let your face shine that we may be saved” (Psalm 80:3) and an admonition to keep alert- “Be aware, keep alert, for you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:33). Even though these verses were written many years ago, they are just as pertinent for our days here and now. We are imperfect people living in a broken world, and we earnestly seek- no, we desperately need- the hope of God’s restoration and presence for each new day.
God gives us that hope. Always we are promised that “God is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:9). God has shown us so generously through Jesus that God’s love is for us, God’s love will restore us, and God’s presence is always with us. Perhaps the instruction to “Keep alert!” is actually a promise that we will see God coming to us even in this moment, if we only pay attention!
“Hope is not only found in the dawning of the new day, but in our trust- even in the darkest night- that the dawn will indeed come.” (KLW)
Turn off the lights and sit in darkness for a few minutes…
What worldly concerns might be bringing darkness into your spirit? Where do you need God’s restoration? Are you discouraged or frustrated? Is there an area in your life in which you lack clarity or purpose? In what areas of your life do you especially need God’s presence? Bring these before God and ask God to replace your concerns with the hope in Christ that only God can give.
Light the first candle, the candle of Hope.
In the darkness as we await the dawn, we know these things: the dawn has come before, the dawn will come again, and the dawn never fails to come to us every day. And so it is with Jesus. This season, as we watch for Jesus, the Dawn of Light, we know that he has come before, he will come again, and he continues to come to us, every day.
This is our reason for hope. Like the dawn, God has shown us through Jesus that God always comes to us. God comes to us, anyway. The conditions aren’t perfect, we aren’t perfect, the timing isn’t perfect, and still God comes. God comes in our darkest nights. God comes in our darkest times of illness, grief, uncertainty, sinfulness, or anxiety. God gives us Jesus, our Dawn of Light, for every day of our lives, forever.
The moon is full on this 1st Sunday in Advent. Doesn’t this serve as a wonderful reminder that God gives us hope in the darkness?
God who brings us the Dawn of Light,
Thank you for this special season, as we watch for your gift, your Son, Jesus. Help us to make the most of this time of watching and waiting. Open our hearts to recognize all the ways you give us hope, the ways you are our hope. May we live with such hope that others may also find their hope in you. Amen.