Dennis Bratcher reminds us of all the imperfect heroes of the Old Testament that God used in mighty ways. Abraham, the coward who cannot believe the promise. Jacob, the cheat who struggles with everybody; Joseph, the immature and arrogant teen; David, the power abusing adulterer; Solomon, the unwise wise man; Samson, the womanizing drunk; and finally, a very young Jewish girl from a small village in a remote corner of a great empire .It seems that God could have chosen bigger things and better people to do His work in the world. Yet if God can use them in such awesome ways, it means that He might be able to use us, inadequate, and unwise, and too often lacking in faith as we are. In our own self-righteousness, we need to be careful not to put limits on what God can do with the smallest things, the most unlikely folks, in the most hopeless situations. I believe that is part of the wonder of the Advent Season.
Advent is about hope. It's not just a hope for a better day or hope for less pain and suffering, although that's definitely part of it. It is more about that there's meaning and possibility beyond our present situations. It's that hope, however faint at times, and that God, however distant He sometimes seems, that will bring peace and justice and righteousness to the world. This time of year we contemplate the hope found in a newborn baby in a manger, the perfect example of newness, potential, and possibility. During Advent, we long for and anticipate that newness with hope that God will once again be faithful to our circumstances, to hear our please, to know our desires for a better life. Finally we can hope that as He first came as an infant that first Christmas, so will He come again as King.
My own life experiences teach me that those who have suffered and still hope understand much more about God and about life than those who have not. Maybe that's what hope is all about...the ability to live amidst all the problems of life with a faith and trust that continues to see possibility even when there is no evidence of it. I think maybe that's the idea God had in mind for Christmas. It's a season that begins with hope, where love wins, peace reigns, and a King is celebrated at every turn.
Celeste M. Robinson