The Advent Word for today is 'renew'. So why the image of a soaring eagle? (Scroll to the bottom to find out.)
Renewing things can be hard work. It can involve mending, cleaning, sanding, polishing, painting, taking apart and reassembling.
To me, 'renew' can never mean replace the old with something completely different. I think of 'to renew' as meaning 'to transform', to create something better out of the material already there. That piece of furniture for example may look tired and worn out but in skilled hands can become like new.
People can become tired and worn out, especially in difficult situations like facing illness, anxiety, uncertainty and grief. Rest may help, but is not always enough to give the strength needed to keep putting one foot in front of another each day. Hope is something that most certainly helps to keep going, the hope of finding new strength, renewed faith.
In the Advent season, Christians read and hear many promises of hope that God will transform what now seems hopeless. The promises are about God making something new out of the material already there that has become shoddy. The promises are about renewing the face of the earth, filling the hungry with good things, giving light to people in darkness and strength to the weary. As God is Creator, God is able to recreate, renew, transform what is into something wonderfully better.
In the book of Isaiah is a promise of hope that those who wait on (or hope in) the Lord shall renew their strength:
"Have you not known? Have you not heard?
the Lord is the everlasting God,
the creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint."
Image Credit: FlashBuddy on Pixaby, Creative Commons