The Stir of Hope

Last year, Dad gave us a Christmas tree. Pre-lit, he assured us. We accepted and they hauled it to Florida where we were living just last year.

After Thanksgiving, we opened the box and encountered a hairball of Christmas lights. My husband and I looked at each other. Dad harrumphed and commented, “post lit, I guess.” We laughed and began the task of unsnarling a few layers of Christmas lights that didn’t all light. After figuring out which lights plugged in where, we still noticed a quadrant of the tree was dark. Our oldest touched a strand and, voila! Lights! A Christmas miracle.

I remember Christmas past and I startle at how much can change in just a year. It takes the breath away and leaves me a bit brokenhearted. This Christmas is not what I expected last Christmas.

So much is new. So much is not with me. I don’t know always know where to hang the old memories. They surround me in the form of ornaments from family and friends, nativities from far off places. All symbols of real events and real people that stir up nostalgia for times past.

Hope is the advent focus this week. It’s stirred around in my soul for a few days now. Hope seemed such an ethereal word in the past.


Like a wish upon a star. It just went out into oblivion, or so I understood it.

This year, I think about hope and I see hope begin in the past with the promise of One who would come and crush the head of the snake. It continued with One who fulfilled the promise by substituting His death for mine. And, hope stretches strong into the future attached to the One who entered behind the Veil that separated men from God. Jesus.

DSC_0051One day He will come back and put to rights all that is wrong, and there is so much still wrong.

Hope is surer and stronger than I ever knew.

Hope means I can hold joy and sorrow together, because I know there will be a day when the tears will end. It is not today, but I know there is a day. That is enough.

Hope means the future is bright because God promises to never leave or betray His children. I am not alone.

Hope says there is a purpose in and there will be an end to suffering. God does not waste the hard things in my life.

Hope straightens my spiritual spine and lifts my head. Hope says life will not always be like this. Hope extends the offer of joy in the midst of deep sorrow.

Hope is a strong word. It’s a bold, uplifted smile through tears.