2021 Advent Devotional: In the Midst of Changing Ways – Many Gifts, One Spirit
Week 4: The Gift of Hope
Scripture: Micah 5:4-5 – “And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be one of peace.”
Reflector: Brenda Mehos
Hope is a baby.
Mark and I became grandparents in October, and it’s been not only a very joyful experience, but one of hope as well! Hope for our grandson Theo’s future, hope for our future, and a more broad sense of hope by reconnecting to that miracle of a baby and his possibilities.
My friend Joan said this to me after meeting Theo on Zoom: “a newborn baby is the closest we get here on earth to God.” After holding our Theo in my arms for the first time and looking into his sweet face, I have to agree! There is something deep and eternal about this kind of love. It’s a pure and unconditional love that at its essence reminds us about where we came from and where we are going. This kind of hope and love urges us to be better people and work for a better world. It urges us to make hope happen. It’s no surprise Jesus came to us as a baby!
Thinking on this theme, I’m reminded that Father Elias Chacour, who founded the Mar Elias Educational institution in Israel, loves to tell the students that “you are not born a Christian or a Muslim, you are all born babies!” You could expand on this in our polarized world and say we are not born Democrat or Republican, or black or white. We are all simply human beings, and all are born as beautiful, innocent babies!
Children are our hope, and in many cases an example for how to live. Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” and “truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16-17. Many wise women and men suggest that we be more like children, and some child-like traits, I think, are worth keeping, include maintaining a sense of curiosity, wonder, imagination, fairness, and easy acceptance of others.
In Dr. Jane Goodall’s newest book, The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times, Jane focuses on her reasons for hope which include not only the human intellect, the resilience of nature, and the indomitable human spirit, but also the power of young people. Jane says “I maintain hope partly because everywhere you go, there are young people who are dedicated, passionate, and begging to make a difference. You can’t help but be inspired by them.” How does Jane inspire youth? She writes, “it’s about listening to them, their ideas, and encouraging and empowering them to roll up their sleeves and take action.” I vow to listen better to the children and young people I encounter, and be a source of encouragement and empowerment for them. Therein lies our hope.
Prayer: God of Hope, help us not to forget the child within each of us. May we be open in hearts and minds to our children and young people that we might continue to have open doors. Amen.