First Advent: Hope for a Weary World

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

Our world is weary. Throughout the past year many people have lost hope because of unprecedented crises and the ongoing pandemic, waiting and hoping for better times.
Centuries ago, an equally weary world waited and hoped. Men and women then suffered different but equally difficult trials. They longed for their Messiah to come and deliver them from oppression. For them, hope came in a very unexpected form. A tiny baby, born to an unmarried teenager in a dirty stable. His arrival was not announced to the world. There was no news coverage or social media. Just some straw, a donkey, and some dirty shepherds. The event was largely unnoticed by the community. Yet to those who looked for him, those who noticed a star and searched, and those who were relegated to the fields, the secret was shared.
Hope often comes in unexpected forms. Answers to prayer often come in surprising ways.
Sometimes the greatest miracles come in the most unexpected and quiet places – the private places – the unspoken places. Your private dreams, hopes and struggles matter to God. The weary world in which we live cannot meet your deepest needs, but our Saviour can. If you are weary this Christmas, look for him. Wait, be strong and take heart. He is near, and you will find him (Jeremiah 29:13), perhaps in the unannounced or unexpected places, like a dirty stable, or in the arms of a teenager, or among those whom society has relegated elsewhere.
Just as he answered the cries of his people centuries ago in a small town in Bethlehem, so he will answer the cry of your heart today. There is hope. For you, for me, and for the weary world in which we find ourselves. The Lord is coming.
Prayer: Come Lord Jesus, into our hearts, our homes and those unexpected places this season. May our weary world look for you and find new hope in you this Christmas. Amen.

Anne Herridge, Crossroads Community Church