All you have to do is open a web browser (or newspaper). Wars consume the planet, leaving destruction in their path. Corrupt politicians line their pockets at the expense of the poor. The hungry starve while the rich feast at overflowing tables. The very earth is groaning from the havoc we have wracked on it.

The future looks bleak.

That doesn’t just describe today, but also first century Palestine, the land where Jesus would be born. The most powerful government the world had ever known had kicked people off their family’s land, subjected them to crippling taxation and took every possible resource from this once great people.

In the midst of that, they still dared to dream of a better world. A world where things would be made right, a world where Jesus’ mother would dream that God “has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.”*

Mary had hope: Hope in a better world than the one she lived in, hope that a good God had a plan to bring that world about, and hope in the one who would be sent. In this time of Advent, may we know the sort of hope that Mary did.

*Luke 1:52 NRSV

Hugh Hollowell is an ordained minister in the Mennonite Church USA, and is the pastor and founder of Love Wins Ministries in Raleigh, NC, a worshiping community that provides pastoral care among the chronically homeless community.

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