Emily Dickinson compared hope to“the thing with feathers.”
The Sandra Bullock movie title said “Hope Floats."
Which is it? Does hope fly away like a startled bird? Or does it always float and never sink?
I think it depends on what anchors your hope; or rather, who.
I’ve hoped for things that never happened. Two years ago, I hoped to land a book contract for a manuscript close to my heart. I really thought I had the right subject, the right time, and the right publisher. Hope was feathered all right and bolted quickly.
Other times, I hoped for a change, an opening, a solution. And it came, floating to me like a message in a bottle. Why doesn’t it always come that way?
Advent is time to think on such things. It is waiting time. Hoping time.
The world that waited that first Christmas hoped for God to break into their hopelessness. The first Christmas should remind us that God doesn’t bring what we think is best. He meets our hope with resources that we couldn’t imagine. Like God in flesh or virgin birth. I would have dismissed angel announcements unless they happened to me. I would never have understood that a baby in a manger in a stable was my hope. My own distracted, misplaced focus makes hope a thing with feathers that flies away. I lose hope when what I thought would make a difference doesn’t happen.
God tells me I have it backwards. I must anchor my hope in God and His resources and especially His timing.
Hope starts in God’s heart, not in mine. I let Christmas hope, Emanuel, God-at-my door, come to where I am in my neediness, insecurity, fear and sometimes downright hopeless predicament. I don’t go ahead. I don’t go against. I don’t fill that time with my best answer.
When I wait, hoping for the God of all Hope to come, hope floats; hope never flies away. Hope brings me the presence of God before it becomes any tangible thing or way or plan. Hope brings the securing embrace of God so that I will wait for His time.
My hope is built is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’s blood and righteousness.
When I wait in Advent hope, I don’t wait for something that may or may not happen. I wait for God to bring the right answer, the right person, the right connection, at the right time.
Hope defined any other way will fly more times that it will float.