by Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Hope. It’s in short supply these days. The demands on our land and on the people who live here. The hurts of the world and those who die here. Hope. It’s in short supply these days.
I don’t know how it is for you. I don’t know if you feel the same way too, if you can hear and taste and smell the hope our eyes cannot hope to see. Hope is not an easy thing. It is not a battle easily won, even as we await the arrival of God’s newborn son.
Advent hope, dear friends, is not a naïve hope. It is not naïve, but it is expectant. Our hope is in the God who made all things, who sustains all things, and who redeems all things. Our hope is not in ourselves, but in God’s power working in and through, and from time to time, in spite of us too.
This is a hope that comes from our deeply rooted faith in the God who was, who is, and who is to come. This is a hope deeply rooted in the life and work of Jesus, son of Mary, whose safe delivery we now await.
Faith, they say, is the essence of things hoped for. Faith is the evidence of things unseen.
Sometimes faith seems no more than an illusory dream.
Brothers and Sisters, welcome to advent. Welcome to a season of expectation and longing and hope.
Welcome to the challenge and the opportunity of waiting faithfully for a messiah yet to be born.
Welcome to the knot-in-your-stomach anticipation of God’s upside down mustard seed kingdom – a kingdom for which we ask, yet can’t hope to imagine.
We welcome you to this time and space, and pray that as you read these words in this place you will take to heart the stories of this season, to live into them with playfulness and wrestle with all your reason.
For unto us a child will be born. Unto us a son will be given.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
In God we trust. And though the supply is short, it’s in expectation that we hope.