As we begin our Advent journey, we are being invited to put our hope in God, to put our trust in God.
November 28, 2021
Making Room: Hope
Pastor Heather McColl
Make your ways known to me, Lord; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth—teach it to me—because you are the God who saves me.
I put my hope in you all day long.
Making Room: Hope Psalm 25: 4-5
The pandemic has laid bare, and widened, economic disparity locally and globally. As we enter the Advent season, how can our church become a house where the Holy will be born anew–offering respite, sustenance and care, opening the doors ever wider to those seeking shelter from the onslaught of life? No one church can do it all, but each can do something. This Advent, as we study the biblical prophets that call us to care for our neighbors and “make room in the inn,” the lonely and frightened spaces within us are filled with the light of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
On this first Sunday of Advent, I invite you to hear again these words from the Psalmist:
Make your ways known to me, Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth—teach it to me—because you are the God who saves me. I put my hope in you all day long.
We cannot deny that our world is broken and in pain. But this is nothing new. Like the Holy family on that first Christmas night, we as people of faith find ourselves with problems to address. For the Holy Family, their problems came in the form of an oppressive regime which had demanded everyone upend their lives and hightail it to their home towns to register for the census–for tax purposes, likely. Mary was on the verge of giving birth and the AirBnB app just wasn’t an option. Whether they got to town late or for some other reason, they had a housing problem that night which brings us to that innkeeper in the Christmas story.
In reality, the Innkeeper is a figure of our imaginations. He is not referenced in the sacred texts. We assume that since Luke said there was an “inn,” then there must have been an “innkeeper.” Often our stories cast him in a negative light, someone who banished a pregnant woman to where the animals were kept. But what if, since we are engaging our imaginations anyway, what if he was truly an entrepreneur? Someone who saw a problem and thought, literally, “outside the box” to solve the problem of where Mary could have her child? Instead of thinking “there’s nowhere,” he said to himself first, “there has to be somewhere.”
And this somewhere is how hope enters into the story, this somewhere is how hope enters into brokenness and pain. This somewhere is how hope helps us as people of faith, do the hard stuff like letting go of our comforts, letting go of our coping techniques. It even helps us let go of the old story of how we thought everything should be and invites something new to come forward.
This somewhere is where hope finds us again today. Like the innkeeper, as we begin our Advent journey, we are being invited to put our hope in God, to put our trust in God. Like the innkeeper, as we begin our Advent journey, we are holding onto the knowledge that in spite of the brokenness and pain which fills our world, we know that God is at work in this world, bringing healing and wholeness to all of God’s people. Like the innkeeper, as people of faith, we know that it all begins with us, making room at the inn to house the Holy in our midst. May it be so.
See also: Theology Tuesday for Sunday, November 28, 2021 – Making Room: Hope Psalm 25: 4-5.