As I tucked my pint-sized, three-year-old son in for the night, he frantically looked up at me and asked, “Mommy! Where’s my white boy?”
Confused, I repeated back to him, “Your white boy?”
“Yes! He’s not here. I want him.”
My maternal brain started flipping through a catalogue of toys, trying to figure out what he meant. Nothing registered.
Johnathan grew frustrated. “My yite boy!”
“Ohhhh! Your light boy! Wait … I still don’t understand.”
And then it dawned on me. I reached under the bed, rummaging around in the dark for the hard, plastic casing of Buzz Lightyear. I pulled it out and triumphantly presented it to my son.
“Yes!! There’s my yite boy!” he exclaimed.
And off to sleep my little toddler went, clutching his white-clad hero of light.
Last week, the first Sunday of Advent, Pastor David brought a message centering on light and hope. He reminded us that we are called to not only follow the light of the world, but to be the light of the world … the light of hope.
I think hope gets a bad rap (like many other four-letter-words), especially around Christmastime. Hallmark movies and others like them lead us to believe if we hope strongly enough for a desired outcome, the magic of Christmas will make it happen. It’s important to remember, though, that the God we serve is not a wish-granting genie, roaming around catering to the whims of His people. Hope is not a magic cure for what’s “going wrong” in our lives.
During times when we feel God is withholding blessing, HOPE reminds us that He is always working for our good. (Romans 8:28)
During times when we feel overwhelmed by His good fortune, HOPE reminds us that He is a giver of good things (James 1:17).
During times when we feel sadness and disappointment, HOPE reminds us that His ways are higher than our own (Isaiah 55:9).
During times when we want more than He has seen fit to give us, HOPE reminds us that we lack for nothing (Philippians 4:19).
We trust because God has proven His mercy and grace through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We trust because He has proven His faithfulness time and again through circumstances in our own lives and those around us. We trust because He has proven his limitless love for us through every word spoken in the Bible.
We have to let go of wanting things God hasn’t seen fit to give us, and of thinking our way is better than His. Trusting God means letting go of our own ideas about how our lives should look, how the world should look, how our church should look, and how it all should feel. Do our current times look and feel dark? Of course they do. But we can be certain the God of Light and Love still rules on His throne, orchestrating the events of the world so that all may come to salvation.
I’m not a person waiting with baited breath for the end of 2020. I don’t believe when the clock strikes midnight this New Year’s Eve, that all our troubles will be over. Is that pessimistic? Perhaps. Realistic? Probably. I don’t believe 2021 will bring the end of all that ails us. I don’t think 2021 will be the “anti-2020.”
What I do believe — and what I hope — is that as surely as there will be struggle, there will be triumph. As surely as there will be sin, there will be forgiveness. As surely as there will be grief, there will be joy. As surely as there will be sickness, there will be healing.
And as surely as there will be darkness, there will be light: the hope found in the son of God, Jesus Christ, the white-clad-superhero-light-wielding savior of this world.