By Erica Hanchey
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 NIV
Isaiah’s words to Ahaz, King of Judah, prophesy the conception and birth of Immanuel, God with us, as a sign of Hope for the king and his kingdom. Long before the birth of Jesus, this Hope was upon the Earth. God brought Hope through a prophet to a king and a kingdom. Through a gentle, virgin mother, God made Isaiah’s prophecy a reality. He brought Hope to Mary and to Joseph, even when they doubted or feared.
As a mother, the fullness of Hope that I experienced in pregnancy, childbirth and now experience in childrearing is a gift only God can bring through the Holy Spirit. While marked at times with fear, anxiety and doubt, it is a Hope that is filled with anticipation and promise. I can only imagine what Mary’s mind and heart were feeling as she carried and raised the Hope of the World. And yet, I need not imagine the Hope that God brings me each day for it is ever present with us. When we fall weary, we need only to speak the name of Jesus, Immanuel, or to look around at the great Hope He brought through His life and sacrifice.
My Hope this Advent is in the members of Woodland, who will build each other up as a community of faith and as a source of Hope in our communities and ministries.
My Hope is not in kings and leaders, but in the children who will seek and be shown goodness so that they may shine and become generations of light to the World.
My Hope is in a baby born to be my Savior, and whose prophetic birth was itself a sign of Hope, a promise from God.
My Hope is in Immanuel, always with us, raised to serve and risen to save.