Isaiah 9:2-7

Practice hope? Surely we do this every Christmas, unless we think we’ve grown up and reached a level of maturity where we no longer need hope?

The words 'I hope' chalked on ground

This image expresses, not a child’s hope of presents, but a prisoner’s hope of release one day in the future. Today all appears confined by the four walls of a cell, but one day …

Some eight centuries before Jesus was born at Bethlehem hope is freshly injected:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.

They lived in a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them.

Eight centuries is a long time to live in hope! ‘Living in hope’, however, is how we are called to walk.

Have you written down where, in this passage, God has grabbed your attention? Now, on this first day of Advent to write down in relation to these words:

What am I hoping for from God?

But also …What have I lost hope for from God?

I’ve moved house recently, from urban Bristol to village Somerset. I now know more about darkness … literally when there is no moon I can’t see one foot in front of the other when I go out to shut the chickens in at night. But I know where the coop is, because I have the position clearly in my mind, from seeing it in the light.

I suggest God wants to resurrect your hope. Bring any buried hopes out again into the open. Name them in God’s presence and may you begin to re-experience the joy of hope, yet realised, this Advent.

Prayer:   Dear Lord, meet me in my hopelessness. Resurrect the hope I have lost and enable me, by the power of your Holy Spirit, to be infected again by your joy, which arises when hope is rooted in you and your ways. In Jesus name. Amen.

Nigel Coles

Nigel is our Senior Regional Minister and Team Leader. He facilitates the life of the WEBA network team and oversees the missional strategy for the region. He also works to develop missional strategy over a wider geographical area with our partner Associations. Nigel is the main WEBA contact for churches and ministers seeking new leadership opportunities, and he works to encourage individual disciples of Jesus through his ‘DNA groups’ resource.