By: Chad Hyatt
Reflection—v.54, ‘in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise’
Some words mean so much that if we are not careful they can come to mean nothing at all. Hope is that kind of word. Advent plus hope is easy math for a preacher to pull out when crafting a few devotional lines or a Christmas homily. While the math may be correct, it runs the risk of coming across a little too on-the-nose, a feel-good thought with no real-life meaning. Yet if Advent is truly a time for hope, then this Christmas couldn’t be more on time for me. These days, the temptation to succumb to hopelessness is real. Maybe it’s just one more unwanted byproduct of getting older. Or maybe I am still haunted by the shadow of death and lingering grief so close to home. Maybe it’s from accompanying loved ones through sickness or being with others in their financial struggles. Or maybe it is the madness that has overtaken our politics and the hasty retreat we seem to be making from the hard work of democracy into angry tribalism. Perhaps it is the current state of one of the things I love most, the church of God—which, if you haven’t been paying attention, isn’t exactly hope-inspiring at the moment. But Mary sings a song of hope. She reminds us that God regards us in our lowliness. She reminds us that God’s mercy is drawn to us there, precisely in that place of desolation. God enters into our troubles in order to save us according to God’s sure promises.
Prayer: God of mercy and sure promise, save us from despair.