Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Happy New Year! Well… happy new Christian year. While Advent and Christmas come at the end of the calendar year, they are actually the start of the Christian year. It is slightly poetic, I believe, that what some folks think is the end is, for people of faith, just the beginning.
While I don’t imagine many have made Advent Resolutions, and black-eyed peas are not typically found at Christmas parties, there is a common center to New Year’s traditions and the Advent-Christmas season, and that is hope.
It is hope that leads us to resolutions about our diet, exercise or plans for the coming year. And it is the expectant hope in the God who keeps His promise from which we sing in Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus and Silent Night.
Achieving our hopes laid out as resolutions depends on our discipline and persistence. The fulfillment of our Advent hope is rooted in God’s power and faithfulness. God promised to come and He has and He will, while my resolutions to increase my gym time and eat less junk are far less certain.
This Advent and Christmas we are studying scriptural witnesses to hope. From John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness to the Magi following divine light, Biblical characters just like us are looking for the power and presence of God to transform lives, communities and the future. This is the nature of hope: to believe that this broken world can be healed, and to recognize the places and the people where God’s healing is already taking root.
Invite your friends, family and neighbors and join us as we share in the hope made flesh in Jesus.