Anticipating Hope

This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time of preparation, hope and anticipation. This first Sunday we will gather in worship to think about what it means for us to hope by anticipating for future God is preparing for us.

The scripture for Sunday is Luke 21:25-36. In this passage of scripture we read about the earth shaking, people fainting in terror and fearing for the future. But in the midst of that fear Jesus tells them not to be afraid but instead to anticipate the work of God. “When these things begin stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is near.”

We live in a time of history where people have a lot of fears. We have national and political division in the news every day. We hear every day about strife, war and division in other nations. We see division, fighting and struggle in our own United Methodist Church family as we struggle with differences of theology around human sexuality. How can we be a people who love and care for each other even when we disagree with each other?

Just when we might want to despair. Just when we might feel like there is no hope is when the hope and light of Christ breaks in and shines the brightest. Jesus would say to us not to be bowed down by our fears and anxieties. Jesus would tell us, like the lilies of the field, not to be worried about tomorrow. Don’t bow your heads in fear, instead stand up! Stand up! because through the coming of Christ into this world your redemption draws near. The light is coming, it prepares to dawn. And the coming of the dawn, the coming of the Son rise brings us hope and joy!

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.