There is so much of the "already, but not yet" in the incarnation. The great hope that weaves through the Christmas story has been impressed upon me this year.
Reading the 14th century mystics in Dr. Jackson's class this semester, I was reminded again and again that we have everything, yet nothing; we are a part of God's kingdom, yet we await the arrival of it; we are seen as perfect; yet we are not perfect. There are so many fulfilled promises, yet in the same breath those promises are awaiting their total culmination. It's stunning, really, to discover such paradoxes.
For the last month, the idea of hope came to mind often. We have so much hope, I reminded myself again and again. I needed it. But what is hope? What does it look like? God brought answers with the arrival of Advent and remembrance of the incarnation.
And then I discovered, again, what the mystics wanted me to see. We were given hope, hope is here, and we await a future hope - the ultimate and perfect hope. Our hope is full, yet we still eagerly anticipate a fuller understanding, and a perfect sight of hope.
Jesus, God incarnate, is that fulness of hope. Hope came in the form of God incarnate, hope comes to us in salvation, and we have a hope waiting for us in heaven. This little baby, He is a living hope (1 Peter), and a blessed hope (Titus). He gives us a hope that is a steadfast anchor of the soul (Hebrews), He is the hope of glory (Colossians), and He calls us to hope (Ephesians).
The incarnation was a fulfillment of centuries of God's people hoping for a Messiah. Hope was born in a manger, and with that birth, hope came to the world. That hope was sealed with Christ's death and resurrection, and it became a living hope. I know this hope, and it promises me a future hope of eternal glory.
There is so much hope!
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.