Advent Hope

When I was in college, living in Duluth provided me with many memorable winters. I remember the time we got so much snow it was nearly impossible to get in and out of the parking lots. On the way home from work one night, knowing that I had to use my car again the next day, I decided to park my car on the street, knowing full well that if I parked there overnight I would get a ticket. However, the prospect of getting a ticket seemed better than having to shovel myself out the next morning, or worse yet, the possibility of getting stuck.

When I was a senior, I lived off campus with my friend Jeanne, and that winter was especially brutal. On more than one occasion we received over twenty inches of snow in a twenty four hour period. Second semester, I was assigned to student teach at Hermantown High School, which was about 15 minutes from where we lived.
One particular morning that winter, I couldn’t get my car out of the driveway because it had snowed the night before. I remember shoveling out from behind my tires, throwing sand down, backing up and then trying to go forward, doing just about anything to get my car to move. Nothing worked, so eventually, I ended up calling a cab in order to get to school.

It just so happened that the night before, I had stopped by the ATM to get $20 cash. I didn’t really have a good reason to take the money out, but as it so happened, the $20 I had withdrawn was just enough to cover my fare and tip the driver.
The fact that I had that money, and was able to get to school on time to teach because of it, despite all the hassles and delays of the morning, was a tangible reminder to me of God’s presence and provision. It was a moment when I knew for sure that God was looking out for me and that God does provide.

I’ve been thinking of this as I’ve reflected on the season of Advent. During this season, as Christians, we boldly proclaim that our hope for life, wholeness, and healing is not in vain. Like a musical overture, Advent hints at things to come, while at the same time reminding us that our hope is in this truth: God has acted in the past. God is acting now. And God will continue to act in the future.

The reminders of this truth aren’t always obvious, and this year that may feel as the more true. But the promise is that just as God acted in the past, God will act again. And even more than that, the promise of Advent is that whatever we are facing right now, God is with us, here.