Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent. It was the Sunday focusing on Hope – hope that came in the prophecy of a coming Messiah. Hope that comes through belief in a God greater than ourselves. Hope that took its form in a crying baby and an empty tomb. Hope that is still available today because of a risen Savior.
Each year, our family lights an Advent Wreath during Sunday evening’s meal. We read scripture, light the appropriate candles and place some of the figures in a Nativity scene. During dinner, the goal is to have a discussion about the particular scripture or “theme” for that week. Yesterday, it was nice to have three grandmas with us to join in our Advent tradition.
As we were eating, I asked everyone what their hope was for this Christmas season and the new year. The little kids’ “hope” was mostly about gifts they hoped to receive. Great grandma – in her years of life lessons – simply hoped for family with good health, safety, wise choices. The other two grandmas hoped for more time with kids/grandkids, stability and good health.
Blue hoped for days with less teasing from Racer and I. That was eye-opening as I didn’t realize that Blue was bothered by our ribbing as much as maybe she is. We rib her about little stuff as just a way that we interact in our family. We don’t mean harm by it – it’s just silly fun. I guess that’s not how it’s being received. Her hope is one that Racer and I just might be able to help realize.
Racer’s hope was for God to help us realize our heart’s desire for our family home. We have dreams like most young couples. We have dreams for a house that is “just right” for our family. We have hope that God will provide us with a family home that is “just right” for us.
My hope – for a plentiful harvest from the seeds and labor of the past year. This last year has been a tough one for our family. There have been many unexpected hurdles, challenges and struggles. There have also been many unforseen blessings and joys. As Professor asked me to explain what I meant this is what I said…
When you plant a garden, there is a lot of hard work in the beginning. You have to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, weed, weed, weed. You sweat a lot. Sometimes your muscles hurt from all the hard work. It’s not always that fun. But then, after all the hard work, a time comes when you get to see and enjoy the flowers and then the fruit from the labor.
Professor understood that. We’ve had a year of work, labor, sweat and tears. My hope is for a year when we get to rest and begin to see more of the beauty arising from the work of preparing and planting. I have seen many ways already that God has changed our family for the better. I see many areas that we still need refining. But my hope is that God isn’t done with us yet!
I just feel it deep inside that God has amazing things He’s going to do with our family. This season is simply one of preparation and seed planting. This season is one of hard work so that the beauty of God’s mercy, grace and love can grow more beautifully and plentiful in our family’s garden. What that beauty looks like, I don’t know. What I do know is that I have confidence in what I hope for. I rest in the promises of scripture.
So this week, as we move forward in the Advent Season – a season of preparation, spend some time thinking about what it is that you truly hope for and where your confidence in that hope comes from. Now share! Tell me, tell someone, what is your hope?