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Our Living Hope
by Kira Day | Advent Week 1: Hope
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
What is Hope?
Hope is simple. Hope is messy. As Dickinson says, we do not often have the words but still we sing it. Hope requires much and gives little. It can be as basic as a kid hoping for a treat but can be as grand as a wife hoping her husband miraculously survives cancer. I have hoped for much and lost hope in much. It is paradoxically a battle of feeling powerless and yet resolute. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” the book of Proverbs reminds us.
As we approach the advent season, I wonder what we are reaching for when we celebrate this special time. What is it to truly await in expectancy for Jesus to live among us as he does now, but also to return to earth again for us? Are we sick with hope? Are we expectant?
“I don’t want to play god, “ My friend Inez frankly admits. Inez is a surgeon at a renowned hospital in our area, and Ri is the head of the Emergency Room at the same place. They both admit that they do not know everything. As they reveal this, there is darkness shadowing their eyes. While we sit, drinking our mocktails and discussing life, Inez cries out that she cannot play god as she recounts having to choose whom to give a hospital bed to during the recent pandemic. The arbitrary reasons for giving said beds were age and social status.
The conversation continues and they talk of other things: politics, mafia, sexual harassment, the vast gap between men and women in our country, the discrimination against unmarried women, and the social issues that continue. We all admit to searching for answers in the spiritual realm. However, whereas Jesus is my hope, despite their religiosity, both Ri and Inez claim their gods are not the only answer for a better future. I, a follower of Jesus, Inez a Muslim, and Ri a Hindu, all have faith in a better tomorrow. The difference lies in that their gods actually agree with many of the social gaps they face in society. They say knowledge and education are the likely way to transform this Asian country. Both feel hopeful but also helpless at this prospect.
“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.” Mt. 2:12-11
I think of Ri, Inez, and many of the people in my community as I read these lines. It still baffles me that the wise men, or scholars, bowed and worshipped before a child. Though he was out of their comprehension, they humbled themselves when they were faced with a God who was all-knowing.
This advent season, I long for my community to discover the joy of finding Jesus, an omniscient Saviour, in a “knowledgeable” world. I hope the same continues for me. Jesus is light to this dark and depraved world and he continues to and will fill all the social disparities. As Proverbs further prods, “… a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” There is much hope for tomorrow and even though we do not know him fully or understand him, he is Jesus: our living hope.
Kira Day has lived in North America most of her life, Latin America for 3 years, and Asia for the past 8 years with her family. She loves seeing how Jesus created unique cultures and learning about them.