Theologian Dale Bruner wrote the following story.
David Peterson, former pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Spokane, Washington, told about a time when he prepared his Sunday sermon. His little daughter came in and said, “Daddy, can we play?”
The pastor answered, “I’m awfully sorry, Sweetheart, but I’m right in the middle of preparing this sermon. In about an hour I can play.”
“Okay,” she replied. “And when you’re finished, Daddy, I’m going to give you a great big hug.”
“Thank you very much,” he said. His daughter went to the door, but then did a U-turn and came back to give him a chiropractic, bone-breaking hug. Surprised, Pastor Peterson said to his little girl, “Darling, you said you were going to give me a hug after I finished.”
She peered at him with saucer-like eyes and answered, “Daddy, I just wanted you to know what you have to look forward to.”
This Advent season, what am I looking forward to? Certainly time with family, gift-giving and good food. I’m also looking forward to new adventures at work and with my writing. I’m especially excited about the possibility of new friendships and growing closer with current ones. Yet, David Peterson’s story reminds me that there is something greater I can look forward to.
After 400 years of darkness and oppression, the hoped-for light came to the world in a manger in Bethlehem. The Greek word for hope is hupomone, and translates as the expectation of something good — not the “trying to think positively so that something good might happen” type of hope, but the “expectation that it actually will occur” form of hope.
So, as I celebrate Christ’s First Coming this week, I will also look forward with hupomone-like hope to His Second Coming. I will celebrate Christ’s birth and look forward to that “chiropractic, bone-breaking hug” from God when He returns again.
Merry Christmas, Everyone.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me…” (John 14:1-3, NIV)
 Dale Bruner, “Is Jesus Inclusive or Exclusive?” Theology, News, and Notes (October, 1999), p. 3.