Responding to Hope fulfilled
“To finally see what you have hoped for for so long is a breaking experience. It’s a healing breaking.” - Scott Erikson, Honest Advent
I’ve always struggled to let myself hope. I grew up with the message that it’s better not to in order to protect yourself from pain or disappointment. To look forward to something makes you vulnerable and to embrace or celebrate it once it’s arrived is downright crazy. Now, as an adult, I find myself unsure of how to live in the tension of painful realities and Christian hope.
I wonder how Mary experienced the fulfillment of Hope when Jesus was born. She would have grown up, nourished by the prophetic promises of the Messiah to come. And here she was, literally birthing those promises into being!
I’m sure she experienced a myriad of thoughts and feelings in those first days after Christ’s birth. We’ll never know for sure. But what I see in Mary’s story is a willingness to receive Hope into herself and choose to trust God as the outcomes unfold. Mary didn’t protect herself from Hope — she let it break through and transform her.
How about you? As we participate in this elongated celebration of Christ’s first coming, what is your response to Hope fulfilled? Place yourself there in those first moments of Jesus’ birth — what would you have felt to finally see Salvation being embodied right in front of your eyes?
Does the thought of it break you in a good way? Or do you feel numb, disconnected, or even uncomfortable? Do you feel resistant or fearful to receive, or ready to open your arms and dive right into the promise of it all?
Whatever your response, your emotions and thoughts can help to reveal what the fulfillment of Hope does, and will do in you. Don’t ignore or judge those thoughts and feelings! I’ve learned to lean in and explore them. Like Mary, I pray we would allow the Hope fulfilled through Christ’s birth to break through our barriers, heal, and transform us.