Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Hope is a powerful force and one that can change everything from a broken spirit and uncertain mind, to a bitter attitude and selfish perspective. In the gospel of Luke, chapter three, John the Baptist raises his voice against those of political authority, cultural status, and financial influence and calls to the people of God: Thunder in the desert! Prepare God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight! Every ditch will be filled in, every bump smoothed out, the detours straightened out, all the ruts paved over. Everyone will be there to see the parade of God’s salvation. (Luke 3:5-6 The Message).
Advent is that time of preparation. This passage reminds believers what we are preparing for, and it is not simply the birth of a baby. It is the promise that baby has come to fulfill. The promise that every low place in our lives will be filled in and restored. Every rough spot smoothed out and renewed. Every confusing or uncertain path made clear. In this promise we find our hope and that hope changes us. It changes how we view the world around. It changes how we face hardships and tragedy. It changes how we navigate the tough times and handle the broken pieces of our lives or the lives of those we care about. It changes our perspective and gives us the courage and strength to carry on.
If we prepare our hearts and minds to encounter the holy and cling to the promise God gives us through Jesus, then we have no reason to doubt and every reason to hope! It doesn’t mean it's easy or that there won’t be challenges and disappointments, but it does mean we are not alone and that things will be better, the pain won’t go so deep, the tears will lessen, love will return, joy is possible, and all will be well.
Have hope people of God. Have hope those who are young and old. Have hope those who are ordinary and quirky. Have hope those who are grief stricken and weary. Have hope those who are accepted and rejected. No matter what, have hope.
For all will be witness to God’s salvation…hope changes everything.
Pastor Jenothy Irvine