“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God” (Isa. 41:10)
“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee…” Phillips Brooks
Lord Jesus, it’s hard to believe that in just about 3½ weeks, many of us will be in some sanctuary, public space, online community, or living room… singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” holding lit candles, dripping a little wax, and wondering if everything is ready for the next day—Christmas Day.
The most memorable line of Phillips Brooks’ hymn reminds us of two heart-saturating realities, and the one ultimate resolution. What is life but an interplay, collision, and dance between our deepest hopes and greatest fears?
Thanksgiving didn’t just serve up turkey, ham, laughter, pumpkin-in-various-forms, and/or vegan delights. It also brought to the table generous portions of hope and fear.
Jesus, on this November Saturday, before we do anything else, we want to affirm 3 things: First of all, our hope is in you—not in people changing, you answering our prayers a certain way, circumstances getting better… and this list goes on. Though we emotionally vacillate between hope and hopelessness, we can/do trust you.
Secondly, we do have fears—fears of not having enough, being enough, getting what we think we need and/or deserve, fears of “what if’?” and “if only.” You know it’s true, so we don’t have to pretend.
Thirdly, our hopes and fears are met in you, not merely by you. You are not a means to our “happy ending.” You yourself are our righteousness, holiness, redemption, portion, joy, satisfaction… and this list goes on as well. For the next 3½ weeks, and the rest of our lives, we want to prove the glories of your righteousness and the wonders of your love. A BIG very Amen.