Hope of Christmas
Advent – the time that marks the coming of God into this world through the incarnation of his son – revives our hope. I am most mindful of the hope that the birth of every child should bring, the hope realized by Christ, the hope that this child will remedy the mistakes of the past and bring a better world. The birth of a child also brings hope for our own redemption, while we have been selfish in the past and negligent of others’ needs, knowing that this child’s survival depends upon us leads us to hope we will give ourselves over selflessly to the welfare of this child.
Isaiah 63:7-9 speaks of God’s hope for us, his children. If one turns to the verses that precede and follow this passage, one will learn that these are words spoken from exile in Babylon. God’s children have followed the wrong leaders and failed to live up to God’s hope. Nevertheless, just as we hope that whatever our children do, that we can be their savior in their times of trouble, we understand God’s hope in Israel’s rebirth and desire to redeem his children from exile.
While this passage does not speak to the coming of Christ, it does speak to the hope of Christmas. While it is the responsibility of adults to make Christmas special and to help children understand the significance of this holy day, Christmas draws us into its realm and we all become children again. It is a time in which we praise the gift of God’s son who makes us new again. It is the time we drink from the cup of God’s kindness and compassion and seek to be true to God’s gift by giving generously to others.
the praiseworthy acts of the Lord,
because of all that the Lord has done for us,
and the great favour to the house of Israel
that he has shown them according to his mercy,
according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
For he said, “Surely they are my people,
children who will not deal falsely;”
and he became their saviour
in all their distress.
It was no messenger or angel
but his presence that saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.