True hope is more than just wishful thinking. True hope rests in the belief that the God of all creation loves us, has plans for us, wants to be with us, forgives us and invites us to be part of Kingdom work in the world. It is the confidence that God is faithful and capable, and that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).
“For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Exiled in Babylon and longing for home, God spoke this promise to the people of Israel in the midst of their despair. “For thus says the Lord…I will restore your fortunes and gather you…I will bring you back” (Jeremiah 29:10, 14). God is their hope and renews His commitment to love, care and provide for them.
Many of us might experience feelings of exile and a longing for “home,” literally or figuratively, in a particularly poignant way this Advent. Perhaps we’re distanced from family, friends, co-workers or places of worship. We may feel lonely, depressed, isolated or afraid. In one way or another, all of us yearn for home—that place where we are authentically known, unconditionally loved and secure in our belonging as God’s children.
The world is not as it should be. Advent invites us to acknowledge that present reality while clinging to our faith-filled hope that Jesus is making all things new (Revelation 21:5). One day, He will gather us into His family alongside every nation, tribe, people and language (Revelation 7:9). Until then, we join with the global Church to celebrate Christ’s birth and exercise our collective hope as we anticipate His return. On that day there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish (Isaiah 9:1).
Take some time today to reflect on these passages of Scripture. In what ways do they inspire you to hope?