At the start of the pandemic, we had hoped for a vaccine. At that point, having a vaccine was just a theoretical hope. It was ephemeral but it was hope none the less. Yet, while it was still far off, researchers and scientists the world over pursued and nurtured that hope. Now we have vaccines, and our hope is made tangible. We are still waiting for the fullness of our hope to be realized but it’s more solid somehow. Some look to the vaccine as a saving grace and joy seems to be on the horizon as we move from Advent into Christmastide.
For the Church, the movement from Advent to Christmas has us follow the holy family to Jerusalem where we meet Simeon and Anna in the temple. Simeon is described as a righteous man who is waiting for the Messiah. He encounters an infant Jesus and sees the embodiment of all Israel’s hopes, God’s promises made tangible. He declares, “my eyes have seen your salvation.” Even then, when Jesus is still too young to do much of anything, God’s very presence is recognized as salvation…our saving grace. Simeon and Anna respond with prophetic joy and spread the word that God has come.
When hope is birthed into the world, it makes a difference. Things change. Perhaps not instantly but always powerfully. As the church, we are harbingers of hope. Paul tells us we are the body of Christ. We are called to embody hope in a world that is desperate for it. The Church takes the hope of the reign of God and makes it tangible. We midwife it into being.
During this Christmas season, let us take the time as individuals and communities to ponder how we might help the world realize the hope of God’s reign. Will it be by housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, and caring for the sick? Will it be by advocating for justice: racial justice, environmental justice, social justice and workers rights? Will it be by visiting the sick, the lonely, and the poor? How will we embody the hope of salvation to a waiting world?
Let us pray...
Thank you for being our hope and our salvation.
Holy Spirit, guide us that we might join in what you are doing in the world. Help us to embody the hope that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen
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As usual, your words ring true, Sarah. If ever Hope needed embodiment, it is now.