Meditation on Hope – by Linda Delve

[Presented, virtually, to Spirit Sisters, a women’s group at Edith Rankin Memorial United Church, on December 9, 2020; Stage directions included]

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A gift!    [Show a wrapped package]  How wonderful!

I asked Santa for Louise Penny’s newest mystery novel.  I wonder . . .  [look under gift; shake gift; smell gift; feel gift]

I hope I get what I asked for. Am I hoping for too much? Hmmm! Well, whatever it is, I hope it will be something good!

What exactly is hope? When I looked at scripture and researched how hope was used, I found I didn’t really understand hope as well as I thought I did. Hope plays a huge role in our Christian faith.  Hope is Bold!!

The Psalms alone use the Hebrew words for hope 40 times. But what does hope really mean? Does it mean I tell God about all the things for which I am hoping, and magically these gifts arrive under my Christmas tree. Voila!

Surely, I should not be making my list as if God were the Sears catalogue – (Is there still such a thing?)

One Hebrew word for hope is Yakhal, which means a time of waiting. Yes, that makes perfect sense!  During Advent, hope is about expecting something that will happen in the future, in about two weeks time, at least the last time I checked my calendar. In the meantime, we wait!

Oh, in case you hadn’t noticed, COVID has all of us waiting for some ‘future’ that is better than what we are enduring at this moment.

Another Hebrew word for hope is Qavah, which means the tension of anticipation. It has been compared to pulling a piece of yarn to its highest point of tension until it breaks! Tension, tension, tension, then relief in the release! [pull a piece of yarn until it breaks]

We have all watched a child count the sleeps until Christmas! Lots of tension there!  Then, the excitement of Christmas morning.

So, continuing with Advent, I am awaiting the birth of baby Jesus! A baby! How wonderful! This is easy for you and me to say! We are not the ones giving birth! You see, hope might not be so simple or so easy, after all. Giving birth can be painful.  Full of uncertainty.

The circumstances for mother-Mary didn’t look very hopeful.  Riding all that way from Nazareth to participate in this inconvenient census, and then going into labour at the worst possible moment, even before they had had time to check into the inn.  And who was she, to even think this baby was the Son of God! How could she count on God when He seemed to be getting it all wrong?

The Census! The COVID! Hopeless? Or Hopeful? The Biblical understanding of hope is Bold! Hope is Confident! It isn’t about seeing the proof that good things are going to happen. In fact, sometimes there is really no way anything is going to get better.

How can we say there is Hope when things feel Hopeless? Time and again, the prophets in the Bible chose hope anyway. Why? Because of God’s promises! Choose HOPE!

The Psalmist says: I am counting on the Lord, yes, I am counting on Him. I have put my hope in His word. Psalm 130: 5 – 7

HOPE is the gateway to something more than we can ever imagine! [Shake gift]

Even you might be surprised! [Shake gift, again, along with a hidden container of beans. Surprise, there will be sound too.]

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