We often say that when everything is gone, hope is left. When things are dark in our lives, we are told not to give up hope. Yet, as much as we value hope as individuals and a culture, it is sometimes not enough to allow us to hold on to hope. Hope can be fleeting. Hope can last years. Hope is a powerful emotion, but, if we are honest, we all have experienced moments when hope is out of reach or we give up on hope. The prophet Isaiah shared his vision of Zion 700 years before the before the birth of Jesus Christ. This promise endured centuries of change, upheaval, and war. Generations of Israelites held on to the vision of the house of God bringing the word of the Lord to them. How did their hope survive seven centuries of waiting? Why does hope in a vision for God’s people last longer than the fleeting hope of every day? The answer is to ask a third question. In whom do we place our hope? Jesus Christ.
Hope is often placed in earthly things. We hope that our surroundings will get better or someone will change. We place our hope in ourselves. We feel the need to place our hope in our will and self-reliance. That is when our hope runs out. When we place our hope in God’s promise and son, Jesus Christ, our hope endures. The Israelite’s remained hopeful about Isaiah’s prophecy because they hoped for God’s greatest gift to us. This hope is as eternal as the salvation promised through Christ. Each Advent, as we hope for the birth of our Savior, we are hoping with all God’s people of all time. The prophet’s words are fresh in our ears. So, we hope as we wait, like the Israelites, for Christ to be born and to come again.