Devotions

Waiting with hope

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Light for the Way devotional series

We invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.

By Pastor Chris Wheatley, PHS Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” —Romans 15:4

Advent, as we heard last week, is a season of waiting and preparation. But waiting and preparation are neutral concepts. We can wait for an unpleasant upcoming event; we can prepare for disaster. Advent, in particular, is the anticipation of something wonderful. Advent is waiting for Jesus.

Whether taken historically, as we join the people of ancient Israel in waiting for the coming of the Messiah so many centuries ago, or as the contemporary waiting for Christ’s return, Advent is a season of hopeful expectation.

And hope, at this moment, seems quite contrary to the spirit of the times. Political divisions grow sharper and rhetoric grows more inflammatory. Inflation and interest rates rise while economic predictions warn of a recession. The increased freedom around COVID-19 is tempered by ever more strains and warnings of resurgence. War across the ocean seems no closer to ending while threats of escalation increase.

The mood of the nation, at least as I experience it, is generally gloomy. Most people I speak with seem to be waiting for an imminent disaster, for things to get worse, or for the other shoe to drop. At the very least, they tell me about stress, exhaustion and a fear that things are not going to get better.

And it is to this world that we declare that the real future is the coming of God’s presence. That the ending to our story has already been written, and it is Jesus making all things new.

Because this is the meaning of Advent. That hope is needed most when it runs counter to the cynicism of the age. That the Light is most important when the nights are longest and darkest. And that at all times, in any circumstances, God is with us.

Rev. Chris Wheatley serves PHS as Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and has served in hospice, eldercare, hospital, HIV/AIDS and congregational settings. He and his wife Nicole are perpetually outnumbered by cats and Dobermans.

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.

Find more in the Light for the Way series:

‘Peace be within you’
Get to know us: a Christian ministry
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series

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