This week is the start of Advent, a time of waiting for something, or the beginning of something. And this week the theme of Advent is hope.
Sometimes, hope can be a dangerous thing. We can hope in people or things that may disappoint us, or never come to fruition. That can create a sense of bitterness, a sense of entitlement, woe is me.
I have tasted this bitterness many times. I hoped for marriage, children, career, normalcy. None came to fruition.
But sometimes, if we let it, our perspective can change. We can see that sometimes, we have what we need, and we can want what we have.
When I was in college, I had my group of friends, when I wasn't close with my family. Now that I am older and out of college and on my own, I have my family again. I want to hold them tight and never let go.
I may not have my group of friends in college anymore, as we have all gone our own ways. But I do have my family. Not only that, I have my church. For the last year of college, I wasn't in Campus Crusade, I didn't go to church. But now I do.
See, God always provides. What I lack in one area, I have in another. Although I am not married and have no children, I am now glad of that!
Although I have no career at this point, and may never again, I did at one time, and I have my parents who always provide.
Although I lost my beloved cat, I still have my parent's dog, Minnie. And it is nice actually to be able to enjoy her company without having to be with her 24/7. I love her, but she is so needy, and I am so responsive to her needs and wants that it is difficult for me to say no!
Today was yet another mass shooting. They have almost become commonplace. But this one was different as it was in a center for people with developmental disabilities. If that is the case. mass shooters have hit a new low. Shooting up schools is bad enough, here are people, from children to adults, who will never able to fully comprehend what happened, and never understand why. I don't even understand why.
I see people in our country who keep demanding this or that, thinking they are entitled to these things. I used to feel entitled. But when I grew up I realized I had my hope centered on the wrong things.
Life is hard. Sometimes it sucks, and you despair of ever getting through whatever troubles you. All I know is I think that is why our week's theme is hope. Jesus came at a time where there was no hope. Not just in the life to come, but in the here and now. For the Jews, they had no hope. From time to time there would be an uprising and people would be killed. But then that would be quashed and the vicious cycle of despair would start all over again.
Jesus changed all that. He came to feel all the things we feel, yet never did he give up or give in. This is not to make us feel bad, for He knew that sometimes we would give up or give in. We're human. But He came to give us hope. That this isn't the end. That God is there and He knows, and He is in control. He created beauty in the world to encourage us. He knows what we need.
So when I feel discouraged, I hope to remember that He is my only hope. He is perfect, forever, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present. He is hope.