Did you know that people in the ancient world thought that hope was evil? They believed that hope inspired people to try and improve their lives only to leave them crushed in the end. Either the improvements never came, or they didn't last, or they didn't satisfy. Hope, in their minds, was an illusion that tortured people.
We are tempted to see hope the same way, and many of us often succumb to the temptation. How many times have you been told - or told someone else - "don't get your hopes up?" How many times do we try to hedge against disappointment by refusing to cultivate hope? This often seems like a sensible strategy, but God disagrees. He proclaims that hope is a virtue - and, incredibly, that it never disappoints us.
This Sunday, the first week of Advent, we will learn how Jesus can fill us with sure and certain hope in a world filled with disappointments, broken promises, mixed blessings, and unrealized dreams. Our passage for the week, Luke 21:25-36, even goes so far as to say that calamities should confirm, not shake our hope in Jesus and his kingdom.