— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —
The first candle of the advent wreath lit is traditionally the candle of Hope. The Christmas season is a season of waiting and hoping. The birth of Jesus took place in a dark oppressive time in Palestine’s history. Rome was the one calling the shots and had selected obedient Herod to be the king of the Jews. The Jewish people were waiting and hoping for the promised Messiah to come and deliver them from the bondage they had been living in for over a thousand years.
This year we are also in a dark time and wait and hope for a deliverance from the oppressiveness of the pandemic we are currently experiencing. That is why I find it important to know what our hope is in. Let us not be like the nation of Israel who were waiting for a powerful deliverer and not a powerless baby in a manger.
About 6 years ago as I was laying on a gurney in a doctor’s office and feeling as hopeless as I had ever been. I was there for an infusion, and I was very tired of medical procedures, tired of doctors looking at every crevice inside and outside of my body. I have literally had examinations from my toes to the top of my head. I was having a major pity party and I said to myself that I am sick and tired of always hoping that a doctor, a pill, a shot, an operation would solve my various medical problems. It was at that moment God spoke to my heart in a powerful way that I will never forget. There was no lightning, angels or thunder just a small gentle voice. This voice invited me to put all my hope in him and stop hoping in a clean bill of health. At that time I believed in God, read my bible, prayed, ministered to others and had already experienced quite a few “Godly Coincidences” in my life. What God revealed to me was that my hope was not totally in him but in what I wanted for him to do in my life and world. The valuable lesson I learned laying on that gurney was that my hope is in Christ, in Christ alone.
2000 years ago, the nation of Israel made the same mistake I had made. They had put their hope in something that they wanted and not in God the father of Israel. In these years since my epiphany it hasn’t always been easy to remember this lesson. The funny thing is that I seem to forget it most when my life is in a good place. In order to truly feel Hope we need to feel our hopelessness. It is often said when you know sorrow you can truly experience joy. This is also true of hope.
When our Hope remains in Christ alone we have our own epiphanies where we see Christ working in our lives. Sometimes our hopes might be answered by a tiny powerless baby laying in a manger. Who would have known that powerless baby grew up to be the man who has changed world history and also each life who calls him Lord. This Christmas season we are in a dark time of suffering and there are a lot of things we want: we want to be free to worship as a whole church, we want to travel, we want to hug one another, we want to visit families, we want to eat out, we want to go to the movies, we want to go to a football match, we want a vaccination and we really want the pandemic to be over. Let us not confuse Hope and want…our hope is in Christ, in Christ alone.
“Once in our world a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.”
C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle