The message of the first week of Advent is HOPE. Hope is the desire for something with the possibility of, or belief in, its realization. Hope must have a goal. Hope is foundational and based in truth; otherwise, our hopes are just daydreams or fantasies. Hope involves our belief that what we hope for can be accomplished.
But maybe the best way to understand hope is to compare it to hopelessness.
We live in a world filled with guilt, shame, fear, loneliness, anger, sadness and oppression. Hopelessness is suicide, abortion and divorce. Hopelessness is bigotry, hatred, violence and murder. Hopelessness is hunger, poverty, sickness and death.
Feelings of hopelessness overcome us as we lose all out material objects. Sometimes this happens through natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados and fire. I have a friend that is sifting through the ashes of his home that burned to the ground looking for anything of value, any memory, or any heirloom. Hope comes from the ashes.
To take residence in hopelessness is to live without Christ. The sign above the entrance to Dante’s hell says, “Abandon hope all you who enter here.” For Dante, hell is a place with no hope. Enter hell and give up hope. Hell is the place of hopelessness.
Hope has history. If we look at our Bible we see a story, a history of God trying to reconnect with His people. Creation could have just rolled over and died by living in hopelessness. But it didn’t, there has always been hope.
Hope and faith are cousins, they are related.
Jesus Christ is our hope, and we place our faith in Jesus
Hope has a past
Hope is present
Hope has a future
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lam. 3:21-23).