It is not always easy to discern good reason for hope. Sometimes we need to look beneath the surface.

By most standards, the birth we prepare to celebrate at this time of year did not hold much hope for the future.

Jesus was born in poverty in an obscure corner of the world in a country ruled by a despised and tyrannical occupying authority. It was a world dominated by violence and oppression. Jesus was deeply vulnerable; early in his life he was forced to flee into exile. The trajectory of his beginnings did not hold much hope for “success.”

Where is the hope in this story?

It is hidden within the details. If we are going to truly prepare our hearts to find the hope which Advent announces, we are going to need to look more deeply. We are going to need to step aside for a moment from the surface concerns and preoccupations that so often clutter our lives.

Advent summons us to go deeper, to seek the subtle rhythms of love that are the true force at the heart of life. There is hope that can sustain us throughout the journey of life even when surface circumstances may be desperately difficult and painful. But we need to look carefully and patiently to find the strong current of the love that no difficulty can ever diminish.

What do I need to do to make space in my life for an awareness of the deeper rhythm of love to be present?