Today marks the beginning of the Advent season and the beginning of a new Christian year. For four weeks we will look ahead with anticipation to both the celebration of the birth of Christ and the Lord’s eventual return. It is a season of excitement, of busyness, and of magnificent colors and decorations. It is a season of hope.
That word, hope, is among the key words of Advent. It is one that we need today. Hope is something that seems to be absent in our lives and in our world this season. We approach this start to the Advent season wondering if hope exist today or may be felt in a world of tears, brokenness, and death.
Yet, hope never fades. We know this because hope is what we anticipate to come this Advent season. We are awaiting the celebration of when hope came upon the world in the baby born in Bethlehem known to us all as Jesus. He brought hope into the world through his life, his love, and his grace. Jesus’ hope will never fade.
That is unlike everything else around us. Those things will fade. The ornaments on the tree will break. The meal will not be cooked to perfection. The gifts will be forgotten by Valentine’s Day. The one constant this season and with our faith in Christ is our hope in God that never fades. Hope never fails. Hope is present with us every day through the presence of Christ. God’s promise for us, this Advent season, is that while everything around us may not go as expect, will break down, or will fade in time, God’s hope as experienced in Christ will never fade and will never fail.
So, my friends, trust in these words of promises in this Advent season:
When we rush from event to event wondering if we will get everything accomplished, we can rest in the promise that God’s hope will never fade or fail.
When we experience brokenness in our lives, our families, and our community, we can be healed by the promise that God’s hope will never fade or fail.
When the pressures and demands of life overwhelms us, we can feel at ease by the promise that God’s hope will never fade or fail.
When we are confused by the violence that exists in our world, our nation, and our communities, we can be strengthened by the promise that God’s hope will never fade or fail.
When we are sadden by the loss of loved ones who will not be with us this Christmas, we are comforted by the promise that God’s hope will never fade or fail.
When we feel doubts, have questions, or wonder about what this Christ is all about, we are met by the promise that God’s hope will never fade or fail.
In all things and in all seasons the promise of God’s hope that came at Christmas is our guide and strength. We can trust that God’s hope is here because the name of Jesus we anticipate this season tells us so.
This Advent we anticipate the birth of Emmanuel, the name of Jesus, which means “God with us.” For just as surely as God is with us, so can we trust that God’s hope will never fade or fail.
In a moment we will share in holy communion and sing the song “Let there Be Peace on Earth” together. The meal is a time where we are met by the Living Presence of Christ and his promises. As we enter this Advent season, may we be met by the presence of Christ, his promises, and the truth that while everything around us may seem daunting, confusing, frustrating, broken, hurtful, or overwhelming, God’s hope will never fade or fail.