Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love, ~ Psalm 33:18
Advent comes when the days are getting shorter and darker. And many of the readings during Advent are prophetic - we hear from Malachi and Jeremiah and Zephaniah and Isaiah and John the Baptist. Prophets gave reasons to fear God, but also told of the hope that God offers in love.
Advent breaks into the normal Christmas programming. For the rest of the world, the weeks before Christmas are filled with decorations, carols, parties, and shopping. Hope isn't as much a focus as excitement and wishful desires.
But the prophets and Psalm writers pause the merriment. Fear is a part of this world and hope is most acutely felt when we admit that. Hope shines in the darkness - a darkness that is real and that no amount of holiday cheer can wipe away.
It is only through that darkness and fear that we can truly see the power of hope.
Darkness and fear do not have the last say. God does. Hope does. Love does.
Advent lets us know that.
Generous and gracious God, open the doors of our hearts to make room for your Spirit of hope to bloom in our lives. Amen