“Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5
At either a domestic or an international airport, any seasonal traveler would tell you it’s not the crowd that matter most when you are on the road, it’s the threat of delay at the airport. It could be due to various aspects, primarily due to the number of security checks. Even before you arrive at the airport, the transport security administration closely works with the intelligence and law enforcement communities to share your information. Especially if you are traveling from the world’s busiest airport Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, your arrival at home would give you the sense of accomplishment and unexplainable joy. In other words, experiencing the hope through safety and security.
The Greek word of Hope mentioned in Romans 5:5 is ‘elpis.’ Its essential meaning can be understood only when the previous connecting words are taken into consideration. In fact, the hope is a result of suffering, endurance, and character. If we contextualize Romans 5:5, to the present festive season of Jesus’ birth, hope is apparent in birth narrative of Jesus, predominantly in people who are around him. Let us see its significance in the present world.
Apart from flora and fauna, the prominent characters around Jesus’ manger are his parents Joseph and Mary; the shepherds and the wise men of the East. His parents represent the human relationships, shepherds represent an insignificant community, and the wise men represent elite and politically powerful society. Apparently, ‘hope’ and ‘the journey’ are common aspects in all the three categories of people.
With hope, Joseph and Mary traveled from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and culminated their journey by reaching their native place of Bethlehem, the city of King David. They endured security check of the census, survived political and social objections for their relationship as well as for giving birth to Jesus. They demonstrated hope by being faithful to God and with each other. Above with hope, they prepared to fulfill God’s perfect plan of salvation by giving a holy birth to Jesus, who is the Hope for the whole world.
With hope, shepherds departed from their fields and visited the savior of the world in a barn. Despite oppressed by wealthy and powerful, their hope in God enabled them to endure social discriminations and worship the savior of the world.
With hope, wise men bravely denied Herod’s orders of informing Jesus’ birth by making a ‘U’ turn, and arrived at a politically insignificant location. They also denied authoritarian hierarchical structure of king Herod including their worldly acquired wisdom and arrived at a politically insignificant place and acknowledged Jesus Christ as the Lord of all and source of all wisdom.
The hope in the savior of the world; in the true shepherd of humanity and in God of unconditional love, enabled Joseph and Mary, shepherds, and wise men to endure a sense of spiritual, social and political threat created by Herod. The hope in God, cemented relationship of Joseph and Mary. The hope in God, gave significance to insignificant community of shepherds. The hope in God, enlightened wise men to accept the lordship of the true wisdom provider.
Similarly, if we can anchor to and boast in the hope of Jesus Christ inevitably, we can experience the genuine love in our family, in our community and in our broader society. Such hope, would allow us to experience a sense of divine significance and would guide us to endure any challenge and live a blessed life. I wish and pray that God would give us the courage and strength to boast in the hope of joy and glory through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Note: We thank guest blogger Pastor Zaccheaus for his thoughtful meditation on Hope for our Advent series.