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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Susan Hanson

Thursday, December 2

[T]he people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah...
—Luke 3:15

Hope and the absence of hope—we teeter nervously between the two. Fearing disillusionment, we vow to keep our expectations low, imagining that the lack of visible longing will somehow improve our luck. No, we don’t believe in magic. Not exactly. And yet, we hesitate to name our heart’s desire. If we just don’t say the words, we tell ourselves, we won’t be disappointed. But still we continue to hope.

Like the people of Jesus’ day, we wonder if this is the one. Is this the person who can free us from our fears, heal our brokenness, help us to find meaning in our lives? We dare not speak our hope aloud.

Those who expected Jesus to be an earthly king were no doubt disappointed. Believing God had promised them a literal Messiah, one who could deliver them from their oppressors and assume political authority, they found it hard to imagine that their savior would be someone very much like them—someone powerless, someone poor. 

The Messiah they were anticipating would establish a kingdom to rival Rome’s, putting the rich and mighty at the mercy of God’s elect. In short, the tables would be turned.

Is this the one for whom we’ve hoped? Caught between our expectation and our fear, we are cautious, watchful. Is this the one whose kingdom encompasses not nations but human lives, whose power lies not in violence but in love? Reason may argue otherwise, but our hearts are convinced that it is.

O God, in whom to hope is to live, give us confidence in our waiting and faith in your promises to restore your broken world.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2004.