“The World is About to Turn…” I love that hymn. It’s based on the song that Mary sang after being told that she would bear the Christ child. It talks of her hope that God is going to come and rescue all those who are suffering, all those who are oppressed, all those who are heavy-laden and without hope. It speaks to Mary’s hope that when the messiah arrives, all that is wrong with the world would be put right.

We are still waiting, it seems. Yes, the Christ child arrived, and much was revealed. Jesus showed us that the powers of oppression in this world do not have the last word. That coercion and prejudice and greed and tyranny and even death itself are not as powerful as love.

And yet, these evils are still with us. And many are still suffering. And so we light the Advent candles, and we wait for the messiah to come again. We remind ourselves of God’s promises to deliver. And we pray and hope that this time, all truly will be put right.

But in the meantime, we pray. And we work. One way that Jesus comes again is through us—those of us who are his living body on earth. We can’t do it all, but bit by bit, with God’s help, the world is turning.

I know. It’s hard to believe that the world is about to turn. It’s hard to trust that God is going to intervene. It’s almost impossible to hope that things will get better.

But hope is a spiritual discipline. It is what we are invited to do. No matter how hard it might seem, it is a choice. We get to choose between hope and despair. So let us light a candle, and hold it before God as our prayer—that light will indeed prevail, that suffering will one day cease, that life will triumph over death. Because, if we carry hope, then like Mary, we all carry the Christ child. Salvation is coming. The world is about to turn.