Advent Reflections: Hope


By Dr. Brad Schwall

Our hopes are pictures in our minds of what we would like things to be like or think they should be like in our lives.  We may hope for a certain event to happen.  We might hope to have something.  Sometimes, we think of hopes as things that are unattainable.

The unexpected often gets in the way of our hopes – what we wanted to happen or what we thought should have happened doesn't.

The prophets expressed hope for a savior. Mary and Joseph experienced many unexpected events prior to the birth of Jesus. Unexpected news.  No place to stay.  It was unexpected that the Savior would be a baby born in a cave that was a shelter for animals and placed in a feeding trough for the animals. 
But, Jesus, Emmanuel, which means “God with Us,” arrived.  The hope of the prophets was fulfilled – that God would be with us.  Hope was fulfilled out of unexpected circumstances.
Hope involves wishing.  But, hope also implies confidence and trust.  The unexpected actually may still involve what we hoped for if we have trust that God will be there and have confidence that God is with us no matter what happens to us or around us.
Life will never happen as expected.  We may be disappointed when things don’t go our way.  Hope is not false hope when we expect that God will be there rather than expect that everything will go as we wish. 
The carol, “O come, O Come, Emmanuel” speaks of hope for the coming of Emmanuel – “God with Us.”

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

God is with us bringing light to darkness.  Hope out of hopelessness.

Individual Reflection

Think about an event in your life that was unexpected.  How did you experience God in that time?

Family Reflections

Parents:  Tell your kids about two toys that you really hoped you'd get at Christmas as a child. 
As a Family:  Share ways that you know God is with you.