A Needed Hope
by Jenn Hale
December 2, 2020
The season of Advent is something I look forward to every year. I love the idea of a seemingly overwhelming celebration being broken into weekly or daily contemplation. I love the thought of preparing our hearts, the longing and the waiting in anticipation of the coming King, the peace that He brings, and the wonder of it all.
In the past, it hasn’t been easy to plan for (or cram) one more thing into the already overscheduled days before Christmas. But this year, maybe one of the rare upsides to many things being canceled is that there’s a little more room for Advent—especially the hope that it brings.
Isaiah 9:1-7 takes us back before Jesus had come to earth. It takes us back to a desperate kingdom in need of hope. In this text, we get some clues about what life was like for the kingdom of Judah before they received this good news from the prophet Isaiah. Words like gloom, distress, and deep darkness jumped out at me as I read. These verses eerily parallel 2020, in fact, murder hornets might even fit right in.
These days all it takes is turning on the news or looking at social media to be overcome with a sense of gloom and distress about the darkness the world is experiencing—on both global and local levels. Like the kingdom of Judah, our world, our nation, our state and our neighborhoods desperately need hope and light to shine into the darkness that surrounds them.
The prophet Isaiah’s message to the nation of Israel was that the gloom and darkness they had been living in were someday going to be replaced with triumph and joy. A new day will dawn for them; their darkness will be turned to light and their sorrow to gladness. But how? They are told it will be because of a child. A Messiah.
But by the time the Messiah actually arrives on the scene, it appears that the hope of the people has become too small. Now their hope is focused on a political messiah who will save them from the gloom of their current political state. The people did not realize that they were actually in need of a soul-Messiah . . . one that would rescue them from the very state of their souls.
During this season of Advent, we focus on the hope that is ours in Jesus. It is not just a hope that means we can be joyful despite the darkness that surrounds us, not just a hope that means this political and social turmoil will one day be over, but a hope that also saves us from the darkness of sin in our very own souls. This hope we have means that one day we will be made whole. We will be like Him and we will see Him as He is.
This Advent season, may we catch our breath as we lean into the hope that is ours through the Messiah who has come and will come again, and may we embody this hope to the world that so desperately needs it.
Jenn Hale is a coffee drinker, deep thinker and kind-hearted friend. She brings flowers and authentic joy to her friends and neighbors, spreading the hope of Christ in places where it is needed.