Clinging to Hope

By Charlotte Phillips

Your birth is our hope.

I wrote this phrase in my prayer journal and underlined it. It felt like an important thing to remember. A few days later, I saw it again and immediately cried out, “Thank you, Holy Spirit! Hope! Yes, we need to cling to hope now more than ever.”

So many people are ready for a new year, as if the clock striking midnight on Jan. 1, 2021, will make all the hard and uncomfortable parts of 2020 magically disappear.

While I think, deep down, we all know this is not true, we can cling to hope as we begin our new liturgical year.

What if instead of looking forward to a new calendar year, we first look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus? We can look forward to renewing our spirits with hope as we prepare our homes and our hearts to celebrate the light of our world, the source of all hope – God made flesh.

Since 2020 has been the year like no other, what if we make this an Advent like no other, too? I encourage you to join me in truly imagining what it was like in these weeks leading up to the birth of Christ.

The journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was physically difficult. Imagine the pain Mary must have felt as she traveled, nine months pregnant, up and down the hills. Imagine what Joseph may have felt – physical pain from the journey, concern for his pregnant wife, anticipation of the birth of Christ.

The journey leading to the birth of Jesus was not an easy one, but Mary and Joseph bore it courageously, full of hope in God.

In a world that may feel hope-less, let Mary’s “yes” to conceiving Jesus, Mary’s “yes” to giving birth to the son of God in a manger, fill us with hope. Let God’s love, poured out to us in human flesh, given to the world as an innocent child, fill us with hope.

As we ring in the new year in a new way, let us be so full of hope from celebrating the birth of Jesus that we face 2021 with a renewed spirit and a renewed hope in our world.

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