Daily Bread December 17

Wait in Hope
Susan Oxley of Seattle, WA, USA

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
    to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
    and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
    and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war any more. -Isaiah 2:3b-4

Despair is everywhere. Political divisions, economic instability, global conflicts, personal relationships, and creation itself are fractured. Most of us feel helpless and hopeless. We see our old familiar world passing away. We have no control or ability to change it.

But hope must not die!

God calls us to activate radical hope-the kind that looks clearly at reality and still holds on to the vision of what can yet be. We need the kind of hope that adapts to changing circumstances without letting go of the values and enduring principles of God’s peaceable kingdom. It is hope that waits for God’s future, but continues to work out the details of daily existence in a manner consistent with that future.

Having already endured and adapted to unexpected problems, a young couple anticipated with joy the arrival of their firstborn. They envisioned a normal birth amid loving family and friends. They looked forward to the familiar rituals and community celebrations of joy. But political realities destroyed the vision. They were forced to journey to a distant city with no accommodations, no comfort, no guarantees. Babies are not supposed to sleep in mangers. But when nothing else is available, creative hope finds a way. Strangers from sheep-studded hills celebrated the birth and told of heavenly messengers who announced it. Hope lived on. The Messiah had come.

The Son of Man was born into a broken world where nothing seemed right. We live in a similarly broken world. But hope lived then, and lives on today. Wait in hope for God’s creative solution, God’s new creation to dawn. But be active and creative in your waiting. Seek life-affirming adaptations that foster peace, joy, loving relationships, and hope.

Prayer Phrase

“Trust what is being born” (Stephen M. Veazey, Words of Counsel, 2019).

Spiritual Practice

Deepen your breathing as you enter a few moments of silent presence to God. Pay attention first to your own life as you gently ask and notice, “What is most alive in me right now? What is being born in me?” After a few moments of silent listening, ask these questions of your community, the church, and the world. Notice how the Spirit is revealing new life and possibility as you prayerfully ask these questions over time.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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