In 1742 George Frederic Handel’s Messiah played for the first time. Although created to be an Easter reflection, it has become a Christmas fixture sweeping us up in the melody of hope.
While Handel’s music was original, his words were not. He borrowed them from the prophets of old.
Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins. Isaiah 40:2
When our hearts are troubled, we must speak hope to them. If we were not anxious, burdened, grieved, and broken, we’d have no need for hope. In needing hope, we recognize our true condition–we long for something that is not yet. In Advent we do best what we ought to do always–anticipate with hope.
Hope comforts us. It relieves the heaviness. It breathes breath to the weary. It strengthens the weak. Restores the fallen. Binds up the broken. Hope helps us to see beyond the immediate to the future’s possibilities.
There can be waiting without hope, but there will never be hope without waiting. Where are you waiting? For what? In whom?
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:23-25
Listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah and let hope speak comfort to your heart.