Today’s Word: ‘Hope’ as in… Advent is a season of waiting with hope!
The challenge is that we no longer have to wait for much. We’ve lost something of the art of waiting, and because of that, we’ve lost the ability to wait with hope. If we want something, we just go get it. Whether it’s tangible goods and services or something less tangible like information, we have ways of getting those things without much waiting or hoping at all. Not long ago the idea of ordering something online today and having it in three days seemed like a big deal. Now, of course, we can order it this morning and have it this afternoon. Because of this, it’s easy to have an uneasy relationship with hope.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it best:
“Celebrating Advent means being able to wait. Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespectful hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them. Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting – that is, of hopefully doing without – will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment.”
Centuries earlier, Isaiah wrote:
“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.”
Our waiting is rooted in that hope.
A few questions: Can you identify something in your life that you’ve genuinely had to wait for? How did that waiting go for you? What is your greatest hope for today? Is there anything in this Advent waiting/hoping time that is teaching you something about yourself—or about the One whose birth we’re waiting to celebrate?