Mary said to me the other day, “If Jesus had been a girl, He could have been named Hope.”
I thought of that this morning, reading in Lamentations.
Lamentations 3:21 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. (ESV)
The verse has two parts: the remembering and the hope.
When my mind is gone, and I can no longer remember my husband’s name or my children’s faces; when I can no longer remember what I did five years ago or even five minutes ago; when everything is unfamiliar because my memory has been wiped virtually clean, if there was one thing that I could remember, one thing to which my mind could return, what would it be? That one thing would have to be something that would give me hope.
The Hebrew word for hope, yachal, is also translated as tarrying. Noah yachal – tarried- another seven days before sending out the dove. He waited expectantly. He hoped. (Gen. 8:12) Samuel told Saul to yachal – tarry – seven days in Gilgal for him. He was to wait expectantly. He was to hope. (1 Sam 10:8)
Advent is a season of tarrying.
Christmas doesn’t feel much like tarrying. It’s a mad hub-bub of confusion and activity. Shopping and parties and decorating and baking. They all crowd into my life and my mind, trying to make me forget that one thing — that one thing that gives me hope.
But in my mind I keep returning to something,
something that gives me hope —
that the grace of Adonai is not exhausted,
that his compassion has not ended.
[On the contrary,] they are new every morning!
How great your faithfulness!
(Lamentations 3:21-23 Complete Jewish Bible)
December, the darkest month of the year, is stressful and hard. But the dawn of a new day is coming.
If Jesus had been a girl, He could have been named Hope.
I kind of like that.