By Hilary Horn —
As Christmas approaches and our advent season has arrived, one word that has been sticking out to me in particular is the word hope. I love this video from the bible project that breaks down the biblical hope:
Isn’t that video good?!
What I think is so different than the hope that the world presents us, is that hope in the bible is not just happy optimism but a choice to wait on God to bring about a future. This feeling of tension and expectation as we wait because we know Gods past faithfulness is what motivates us to look forward in the hope we have in Him. We trust nothing other than God’s character.
As a mother I can only imagine Mary during this time. Many young woman have a hope (this happy optimism) in our future. For many of us, that involves hopes for a future spouse and most likely children. We day dream about what our life may look like, what we hope it does many years down the road. 2 kids? Maybe 3? 6? Maybe we hope to own a house, have some sort of stability in our careers. Maybe we want a natural birth. We scroll Pinterest and get way over our heads on all the baby stuff we want to get one day and how we want to decorate our nursery. We think of things like clothe diapers or disposable? Breastfed or bottles? We dream of what our child could be, what they may look like. Will they have my eyes or their dad’s? Will they be funny or sensible? You wonder endlessly.
Then often, our perfect optimistic dreams are jaded. Life happens and most of us don’t always get the ideals we dreamt of.
Mary sure didn’t.
She was a young, single mother at first. No husband. No home. No stability. She was probably afraid, ostracized and abandoned. She went off to her cousins house. I’m sure she was worried more about the outcome of her life, let alone what crib she wanted to purchase. She didn’t even have a clue what to dream up about the incarnate God and what he would look like. Would this baby even look or be like her?
But one thing she did have. She had the living hope of Jesus in her. A hope that isn’t just a feeling of optimism, a hope that can be crushed. But a hope that is an eternal, a faithful hope. A hope of who God is and what he will do.
She lived and breathed the waiting tension and expectation of hope. She knew she carried the savior of the world. What a weight! To mother Jesus? Can you imagine this young girls thoughts? But she trusted full heartedly in who God was in the past and who she knew he was going to be in the future.
She resinates the hope in her soul when she proclaims this song in Luke 1:46-55:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
She remembered God’s faithfulness, his mercy and power. And she was confident in the hope for what was her future and the baby that she now carried. Even though her life was in what most of us would see as utter shambles – she trusted in the hope because she knew Gods past faithfulness and his future. She even called herself blessed.
Whatever season you are in – a joyful one or maybe one that looks like unmet expectations, chaotic, broken, afraid, a lone…
We may not have the hope that the world gives us, but we can be confident in the hope that God is.
Jesus is our living, eternal hope. I am choosing to hope and wait in this tension for the now and not yet Kingdom until he returns once again.
So as advent continues I am reminded that hope is not that God guarantees a life of bliss and perfection, but that in all seasons, trials and circumstances, God is with us.
In seasons that are hard, I want to proclaim the truth of God’s promises and be like Mary, calling myself, “blessed” because I rest in the biblical hope of Jesus…God with us.