To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.Hebrews 11:1, Good News Translation
Hebrews is considered the ultimate book on faith, but in Hebrews 11:1 it is evident that hope is needed before faith can exist. Every day my mailbox contains multiple free gifts for me, from address labels to calendars, greeting cards to gardening gloves, even money. All sent with the hope that I will send back enough money to pay for the free gift. One such gift, sent from the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, is attached to my filing cabinet. In big letters the magnet has written upon it: “Delivering HOPE since 1947.”
The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, last year, sent eighteen million toys to seven million children. Children who hoped they would receive a toy, not knowing the giver. They HOPED. Hope is imagining there is something to believe and trust in, even when you can’t see it, but you know it is there. People with hope believe something good will happen; they are optimistic about the future.
Hope produces challenges as well as opportunities. It is an action word, requiring action on our part.
ABC news interviewed Michelle Obama about her new book, The Light We Carry. She writes about her despair after Covid and the incidences in our last election. She believed her family had sacrificed, trying to make a difference in our country, and she wonders if perhaps that sacrifice had been in vain. She felt her spirit spiral downwards. Yet, she had hope–and hope pushed her to write this book.
When we have hope, we are goal-oriented and move toward achieving those goals. Hope is confidence in God’s ability to make change, even if we never see the results. A hopeful person is an inspiration to others and increases happiness in others. A hopeful person has faith. Faith that Jesus’ coming is as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago.
So, what is our hope this Advent season? Perhaps it’s that our faith will be renewed, and Jesus will sparkle in our lives as the tinsel on the tree. Or maybe that our faith will shine like the Christmas star, centered in the requirements of God: to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
Lord, as Christmas approaches, remind me that the birth of Jesus was your way of “delivering hope” to the world that you love. Help me choose to live from a place of hope in my life, even when the work I do doesn’t seem to make a difference. Renew my faith today, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Vi Hammit lives in Sun City West, AZ and enjoys wintering in Arizona City, AZ
I am an 80 year old grandmother, hoping the glass will clear so I can understand God’s plan for me (1 Corinthians 13:12).