Advent Week 1: HOPE


Written By: Amy Gordon

Listen. Can you hear it? Lean a little closer.

It’s the sound of hope coming into a lost and dying world.
It’s the sound of peace coming into a struggling and chaotic world.
It’s the sound of love coming into a broken and grieving world.

It’s the sound of a Baby’s cry.

On that starry night in the little town of Bethlehem, when Mary welcomed Jesus into the world he had created, the sound of hope rang clear through the still starlit sky. Can you imagine how creation itself would have responded to that cry? Creation which was once perfect and whole and good - because God made it and said it was - now broken and yearning for that perfect union with it’s Creator once again.

And then suddenly there is the cry of a newborn baby. A cry that causes of all heaven and earth to leap for joy for hope has come! Finally, redemption is near. God’s plan for the salvation of his people, for the restoration of his earth, and for the redemption of his creation has begun. No wonder the stars all gathered together to point the wise men to Jesus, showing them the way to salvation. “He is here! The one you are looking for is right here! He is our Messiah!” And the angels declared, “Do not be afraid! I bring you good news that will cause great joy to all people.” Creation knew that God himself had come in the form of a human baby, for the cry of that baby declared to all who would hear that hope has come. Hope is here - for you and for me.

Do you ever wonder though, about those who missed it that night? Those people who walked passed Mary and Joseph as they were trying persistently to find a place to stay, a place to deliver the baby Mary was carrying. Or maybe those who looked the other way, or even casually bumped into Mary, brushing the holy contents of her pregnant belly. Did they ever come to know how close they were to God himself, how close they came to being part of the story?

There were many people in Bethlehem that night. Travellers, sojourners, all there for the same purpose but blindly missing out on the Present. All there for the same goal but sadly missing out on the Gift. All there together, caught up in the same mission but neglecting to stop long enough to truly embrace and engage in the moment that changed the world forever. They missed the message of hope and grace and love and truth that was sent to earth just for them on that long ago night.

If truth be told, we could be those people. We too often miss the heavenly offers of hope and grace and love and truth. We, like the wandering weary in Bethlehem that night, will be too caught up in our own troubles, in our own mission, in our own world to notices the touch of grace in our lives. There are numerous times throughout our days, weeks, years that God has sent messages and messengers to point us to Him, but we have been too tired, too distracted, or too busy to stop long enough to listen and to hear his voice. Our hearts and minds become cluttered with the urgent and we neglect the sacred. We miss out on the wonder of all God has for us. We just simply miss it. We miss Him.

This Christmas, let’s not miss it. Or Him. Let’s be fully present, fully aware, fully engaged in the wonder - and hope - of Christmas. Let’s listen for the cry of the newborn Baby - the cry of hope, peace, joy and love - and respond with a yearning that matches the exuberant joy of creation that night so long ago. Let us hold in our hearts an expectant of hope that cries out for redemption and restoration of our world and all God’s people.

Listen. Can you hear it?

It’s the cry of a Baby.

It’s the cry of hope.