The Thrill of Hope | Advent Week One
In conversation with the founder of a jewelry design brand, explore how to break out of your comfort zone and find your own creativity and freedom from God.
There is something mystifying—astonishing—about Christmas. It is a season as much about looking back as it is about envisaging what lies ahead. We plan and prepare for this Christmas season while reminiscing and recreating the traditions of Christmas past. We await the birth of Jesus even as we read and sing about that holy silent night of his birth so long ago.
The Christmas season can feel paradoxical. We speak of this being a time for family and togetherness though we know too well that for some it is lonely and fraught. Carols announce peace on earth but news headlines seem to disagree.
John meets us in this puzzling place in the first verses of his Gospel account, telling of the Word that both already was and will come again. These verses illustrate the timelessness of Christmas—of the Good News that is Christ incarnate. Light and darkness both are around us, but light prevails. We know how this story ends, and yet we still sit with childlike excitement for Christmas to come.
This period of waiting, known as Advent, marks the four weeks leading up to Christmas’ arrival. Balancing both anticipation and remembrance, Advent is a season of hope. Despite what we may assume, hope is so much more than wishful thinking or unflappable optimism. Living hopefully does not require us to blind ourselves to the pain and hardship of the world. Rather, in hope, we face these challenges with full knowledge of what has been accomplished and what God has assured us will be. It is through Jesus—the Word, the Light—that everything came to be. God is timeless and eternal, greater than any darkness or trial we might endure. Hope is active, propelling us forward and encouraging us to face the darkness with resilience.
John begins his Gospel account cosmically, setting the stage for the immense significance of Jesus’ birth, life, and ministry. As we excitedly await the child in the manger, we remember that this helpless and small babe is the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe. God values what the world has deemed weak. The hope of Advent extends to all of creation—the Infinite and the infinitesimal. By taking on humanity, Jesus reaches out to us intimately and individually. The miracle of Christmas is not just that God is greater than any danger or shadow that we might encounter, but also that this mighty and ineffable God personally cares for each of us.
Advent hope invites us to embrace Christmas in the perfect tense—as a past event with present consequences. Jesus has been with us from the very beginning. And we can rest assured that there is a gift (of comfort, encouragement, love, restoration) waiting for us. May our weary world embrace this thrill of hope, “for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” Amen.
Words: Emma Tweitmann
Photography: Ferenc Almasi, Paul Torres