Advent 2022: Week One, Day Four
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the hardest of these to understand is hope.
What are we talking about when we talk about hope? I personally struggle to wrap my mind around what it really means. Is hope a wishing? Is it wanting something? Is hope the same as desire?
Hope is like a pregnant mother nurturing the child growing within her. She takes care of herself, and therefore her unborn child. Because hope is a sort of waiting, it’s an active waiting. It requires attentive, delicate care. But waiting is not fun. It is not glamorous. It requires maturity and patience. And I think there’s a sense of loneliness wrapped within this waiting, too. But it’s a determined spirit of faith that empowers it.
Hope is like a patient farmer after the seeds have been planted. In faith he plants the seeds, but in hope he waits. He walks his fields, he waters them, he removes the pests. If the farmer does not take action in his waiting, his crops will die, be eaten, or wither away. The farmer understands the dance of hope — of when to wait and when to take action. And the farmer’s dance is in rhythm with his own cadence of prayer. Hope is a conversation with the Creator. Prayer is hope put to words.
Hope takes action but recognizes we are not in control. Hope lets go of the control we think we have yet learns to stay present in each moment. And when things get awkward, when we are tempted to run away from the situations that make us feel uncomfortable, hope enables us to stay put. Hope dares us to stay present and to live into each and every moment no matter how uncertain the future may be. It is stubborn in that way, and to many that may seem foolish, it seems like a naive joke. But those that hope are in on the joke.
Unlike the expectant mother or the dancing farmer, though, in the loneliness of faith we find a special community of those sharing the same hope. It is this community that comes together in this season to wait for the coming culmination of their shared hope.