The Hope of This Season

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you… Ephesians 1:18

And how can we see hope, feel hope – grasp hope – in the hubbub of life?

He, The Christ. Jesus. He is THE HOPE of this season. And He is calling you. He is calling me also to recognize Him in this season. Jesus is calling us to know HOPE in this chaotic season we love and are simultaneously tormented through.

However, we tend to depend on our natural senses to fill us with hope at this time of year. We pull out the Christmas decorations, especially the Nativity. And we put up lights because our eyes long to see hope. We put flame to the pine and cinnamon scented candles so that our home smells like hope. And we place all those special ornaments on our tree so that we remember the people, the places and the traditions that remind us of hope. We long for all the favorite cookie, hot chocolate and fruit cake recipes from the past that taste like hope carried into the future for the next generation.

And it’s all good. It’s fabulous. Joyful and reminiscent with all the emotions of remembering. But none of these good traditions provide HOPE.

Because HOPE is a person rather than an experience. Hope is tangible and relational rather than a glimpse or a whiff of something manufactured.

And as such is the case, the apostle Paul, a couple of thousand years ago, felt it necessary to pray for the people who would read & hear his letter. His prayer asked God to enlighten the eyes of their hearts so that they might know the hope to which God was calling them. The entire first chapter of Ephesians surrounding Paul’s prayer is a declaration of who Jesus is within the Trinity of God. And his prayer is for their remembrance of Him, Jesus, in whom they first found their hope.

At certain places in life, under particular circumstances, I have found Paul’s prayers to be comforting requests to offer to God on my own behalf. There have been more than a few seasons in my life during which my natural eyes have not been able to recognize hope. My physical senses are limited to the constraints of time and space, and so in these moments, the God-inspired words of Paul, spring up from an ancient era to help. Another sojourner with Christ, from another time, encourages me to make this request of God, our Father – his Father and my Father. All these thousands of years later, I too am able to say out loud,

“I pray God that You would today enlighten the eyes of my heart that I will know the hope to which You have called me.”

Isn’t that an amazingly wonderful gift to enjoy during this first week of Advent?

And so would you receive this prayer as well? Could we simply stop for a moment and listen with an intent to be gifted by our Father with all the HOPE He has for us today?

Father, I pray, for all who might read this message, that the eyes of their hearts might be enlightened by Your Holy Spirit in order that they might know THE HOPE, Jesus Christ, to whom You have called them. Thank You Father for being the same Good Father to Paul as You are to us and will be for our generations to come. We’re grateful for Your love. Amen.

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining!