May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NRSVUE)

One of my favorite Christmas hymns is O Little Town of Bethlehem, a hymn that is sung in our Christmas Eve services. The first verse concludes, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Hope is wanting something better; fear is the feeling that things will get worse. Hope is our way of coping with things over which we have no control: we hope our children will grow up strong and healthy and do well in life. We hope our favorite team wins; we hope that when the temperature drops during the night our car will start in the morning. We hope that we are living as Jesus wants us to live and that eventually, those who do not follow his teachings will change for the better.

There are so many things in our world that we cannot control: we want a world where there is no suffering, no war, no hatred, no injustice. But we lack the ability to make those changes; we can only petition Jesus through prayer, and we hope – that is – we trust Jesus to help us and guide us. We trust and hope because we know God listens to us, looks out for us, and helps us to make the world a better place to live through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Gracious Heavenly God, I bare my heart to you in this prayer for hope. Remind me daily to walk in spirit with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

John – Inspire. Ignite. Invite.
Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Merrillville, IN