Advent – December 5th

Hope is Positive

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“ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Rom. 15:13).  Hope is the anticipation of something good.  It allows us to see life through a positive lens.

Job 1:21; 19:25-26

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” . . .25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.

2 Peter 3:13-18  (ESV)

According to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, . . ..18 Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Matthew 21:42 (ESV)

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”


It is easier to live in the moment than to worry about the future.  When you are young, you believe that you will live for a very long time and don’t have to worry about sickness or your own mortality.  It is the time of optimism perpetuated by the myth that if you eat right, exercise more, and stay active, you will somehow stave off catastrophe.  From that vantage point, seeing the aged, sick or dysfunctional places them in the category of “that will never happen to me because. . . . “ Bad habits are easily dismissed or justified; the effects of aging are camouflaged or ignored; and looking after your own wants and needs is the first and only priority that matters.

Then life happens.  Interpersonal conflicts, job challenges, financial constraints, shattered expectations, or an unexpected diagnosis creates depression, pessimism, or false hopes.  Some blame others or rant against fate; others become cynical or self-destructive. Often there is a make over of some sort—starting new relationships, changing jobs, taking up the latest self help craze,  or buying new toys.  These distractions avoid the true underlying issue—the existential angst of our own mortality.

Until you have faced your own death, you’re not ready to live.  It is the unresolved question that few dare to ask.  Rather than living with dread and fear, hope is the anticipation of something good.  The old gives way to the new.  Even our aging and death are not diminishment, but part of the process that draws us closer to God.  Only when we begin to see ourselves not as an accident of fate but chosen by God to experience life to the full, can we see each day as a gift.  The beauty of creation and the assurance that God knows us personally and loves us, helps us to relax, like a young child in his mother’s arms.   Hope assures us that there is nothing we face that God has not seen before, and we can trust him to hold onto us.  This world will be redeemed in the end as Jesus, the cornerstone that the builder’s rejected, puts all things right.  This is our glorious hope.


“Jesus, you came to assure us of our ultimate redemption.  We see love and hope in your life as you came and made your home with us.  You understand our fears and limitations.  You walk with us as a fellow pilgrim, leading us through life to the end.  Let us learn to rest in that hope with confidence and joy.”  Amen

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Paul was a preacher and teacher until he retired in 2015. He continues to write and listen to what God is saying to him in the ordinary and extraordinary things of life. Elaine was a public school teacher and administrator until she retired in 2018. She is using her retirement to reflect on God's work in her life and to share insights with her family and friends.

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