By Rev. Bev Kahle
St Paul United Church of Christ, Nashville
Q: What are your hopes and expectations for the coming year?
A: Hope. What a wonderful word. I think of Advent and lighting the candle of hope that shines in the darkness. I think of the Christmas Carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and the lines in it that proclaims, “Yet, in thy dark street shineth, the everlasting Light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
Hope is essential for us to survive. You take away hope – one loses the will to continue. You remove expectations, and you lose any reason for continuing. But with hope and expectation, life becomes meaningful and purposeful. I think this is what Jesus brings into a world of that is often too full of darkness and pain. Jesus invites us to hope for tomorrow – hope that the world will be better; hope that life will become sweeter; hope that we will indeed overcome whatever is holding us back, down, or captive.
With hope, then, Jesus also brings expectations. He expects us to live in ways that bring hope to the world. He expects us to love in the face of hate, to persevere in the face of obstacles, to overcome the things that would destroy and instead celebrate and live life.
So what are my hopes and expectations for the coming year? My hope and expectation is that Jesus will shine into the world and that we will see his love, justice, and compassion. Will there be times that test that? Yes, but I have faith that as God promised in Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV). I expect that God will do his part to bring this about and I know that God expects us to join him in that work.
I expect that I have some work to do to accomplish my part. I hope you join me in it as we work to bring Christ’s love to the world around us.
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