Hello to all those joining us today for the first time. We are on Day 4 of our journey through Advent focusing on the theme of HOPE.
For months the news of COVID deaths – of which my husband Gene was one – has cast a dark shadow over our land. Churches and schools have closed. People have canceled Christmas plans to gather with family and friends. Recently, however, the possibility of a new COVID vaccine has given hope to our nation. The stock market rises. People get careless about wearing face masks. But those hopes are only temporary. Another virus will emerge. The stock market which rose one day will fall the next. Our hopes turn out to be temporary.
When Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi heads back to her homeland, alone and penniless, Ruth and her sister-in-law Orpah travel with her. Naomi encourages them to turn back and return to their families. Normally, if one of her sons had died, the other son would marry the widow of his brother and provide for her. But Naomi has no more sons. “Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? No, my daughters, return to your parents’ homes…even if I said I have hope, and I were to get married tonight and bear sons, then what? Would you wait for them to grow up?” (Ruth 1:11-13) Naomi does not encourage false hopes.
False hopes result in disappointment and depression. Do we place our hope in a man-made vaccine to deliver us from this year’s virus or in a Bethlehem baby who delivers us for all eternity?