“O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is a steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.” Psalm 130:7
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, known as the first American poet, strolled around on Christmas morning, clutching the letter from the Army informing him that his son was critically injured. His head down, tears streaming down his face, he could not bare the thought of another loss. Two years earlier, he had lost his wife when her dress caught fire. His desperate, futile attempts to save her left him scarred and severely injured. This letter seemed a blight on any Christmas joy, especially when he heard the church bells toll Christmas carols. He went home and penned the famous poem, “Christmas Bells”!
Although Longfellow admits to feeling despair in the poem by writing, “there is no peace on earth I said, for hate is strong and mocks the song”, he doesn’t stay in that place. He concludes that as the bells continue to ring “more loud and deep, God is not dead, nor doth He sleep, the Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.” This poem is a great depiction of Advent. Yes, we live in a fallen world where we can see evil all around. Just like Longfellow, we may have moments of despair, yet Advent is always a reminder that in the darkest moments, we always have hope! Like the Psalmist David, we can declare, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.”