Monday (December 6, 2021)
“For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?” Romans 8:24
It is that season of the year, of course, when we are back to shopping for gifts. Although I resisted this for a long time, the pandemic pushed me over the edge on learning to shop online rather than in person. I’m still not completely sold on it as an alternative to Christmas shopping in the stores. I just like to see what I am buying and hold it in my hands before it gets wrapped up. But I find that there is at least one feature of web shopping that I really like; which is, that you always have the option of putting an item on your “wish list” so that you can give yourself time to think about it before you close the deal… and still go back and find it again rather than losing it forever. Besides, putting something on your wish list lets you share your list with those who are hoping to find the perfect gift to give you, knowing for sure that they will be giving you something you were actually “hoping for”… or is that, “wishing for”… or is a wish and a hope the same thing?
I recently asked this question of our confirmation class – “Is there a difference between a wish and a hope?” And to my amazement they got it right away. A WISH is a fantasy; something you just make up in your imagination. A HOPE is a longing for something grounded in an actual PROMISE from someone you trust, someone who KNOWS who you are and what you need.
Both wishes and hopes remain, as yet, unseen. But St. Paul reminds us, as he reminded the Christians in Rome a long time ago, that Advent is not precisely a season of wish lists. It is a season of HOPE, rooted in the knowledge that the unseen gift we await is a promise given to us by the God who has walked with us every day of our lives, a God we can trust to know exactly who we are and exactly what we need. And that is a gift worth waiting for.
Pastor Wayne Miller
Stir up your power, O God, and come. Meet us in our longing. Awaken our trust in your steadfast love. And bring us to that day when our hope is truly fulfilled, in our hearts and in our world, through the new birth of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.