Embracing Hope This Advent

As Advent 2023 dawns, our world faces no shortage of darkness – economic instability, conflicts in the Middle East and beyond, deep political divides, millions displaced. We cry out for light in this darkness.

The book of Ruth connects surprisingly well. It opens in famine-stricken Bethlehem as a family battles hunger and hostility in the land of Moab. Many modern parallels come to mind – refugee crises, poverty, and famines.

Where is God in all this chaos?

Ruth reminds us that He draws especially close to the hurting and vulnerable – the widows, the orphaned, the outcast. And He faithfully sends gleams of hope, even if small at first. As word comes back to grieving Naomi that God has blessed Bethlehem with plenty again, could this foreshadow relief for our world’s troubles too in due time? It seems but a flicker against the overwhelming need. Yet redemption often enters quietly.

Ruth’s pledge of loyalty to follow Naomi no matter what stands out in stark relief. She abandons false securities to embrace the true God she has only glimpsed. May we likewise faithfully cling to hope and deep loyalty to God this Advent!

Through the Book of Ruth, we witness how rebellion and faithlessness breed sadness, while repentance and obedience release hope. Darkness, in its contrast, makes the light shine brighter. God moves through vulnerable trust to bring powerful transformation.

This Advent, let us reflect on what loyal commitment looks like, even when the path seems unclear. In the face of current chaos and uncertainty, may we respond with empathy, hope and a willingness to step forward into the unknown future God has for us. As we boldly step forward in faith, embodying this resilient hope, may it shine brightly like a guiding star in the night sky. His Star, Our Hope, guides us through the Advent journey with the assurance that hope prevails, even in the darkest of times.