In the hymn, “Oh Holy Night,” we sing, “a thrill of hope the weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
Isn’t that a beautiful image of Hope?
As we continue our First Light Advent worship series, this Sunday we’ll be focusing on Hope as it relates to another song — a song sung by Mary in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:46-55). In this passage, called the Magnificat for the first word in the Latin translation, Mary sings a song of hope. It is a song that has been set to music countless times throughout the centuries. This Sunday, Choral Union, along with orchestra, will be performing John Rutter’s setting of The Magnificat and I will be sharing a brief meditation on hope.
Mary sang of hope in the Magnificat: “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name. He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God.”
One of the age-old images we all probably have of hope is dawn, the First Light of a new day. You see, it is during the darkness of night, when we know that dawn is coming, that we anchor ourselves in the sureness of Hope.
Each year during Advent, we again experience this first light of hope. As we celebrate the coming of Jesus, we very often discover our own dawn of Hope:
Hope for new life.
Hope for new beginnings.
Hope for new opportunities.
Hope to begin again.
Hope for forgiveness and second chances.
Hope for a life of meaning and purpose.
Hope for the lonely, the oppressed, and the downcast.
Hope for the marginalized.
Hope for the world.
Hope for life that overcomes death.
Hope for help in our dark night of the soul — those trying times that test our faith.
And above all, we celebrate our hope for the dawn of renewed faith and courage. Even when we’re facing the darkness of death, we have hope for the light of life eternal. All of this is what we celebrate in the season of Advent.
So what do you hope for? In the darkness of your own night this Advent season, what is your hope for “a new and glorious morn?”
I look forward to exploring the First Light of Hope with you this Sunday morning in the Sanctuary as we experience the glorious Rutter Magnificat.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster
A REMINDER: The service in the Sanctuary that normally starts at 9:30 am will start at 9:15 am this Sunday to accommodate this beautiful choral and orchestral work.
“With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
He shows mercy to everyone,
from one generation to the next,
who honors him as God.
He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy,
just as he promised to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”