The Space of Hope

Teacher and poet Joanna Hayes reflects on the waiting and preparing for the Messiah, God with us, in our common home.


For our sixth Advent 2023 devotional, Joanna Hayes reflects on the waiting and preparing for the Messiah, God with us, in our common home.

The Space of Hope


Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
   according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
   which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
   and for glory to your people Israel.’

And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Luke 2:25-38



There’s a space between *maranatha* (Come Lord Jesus!) and Emmanuel (He is with us) where all of the suffering, frustration, waiting, growth and hope stands. The recent referendum has been such a moment in that space of dashing of hopes and a need for further waiting.  

Simon and Anna in the temple (Luke 2:25-40) both represent me, and I think all of us, in that they too occupied a space between, and the information about their personal lives, Anna’s in particular, make it clear they experienced the normal human combinations of extremes.  

Simon had been told he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah. We have to die before we see Him, unless He returns first. 

But what we’re waiting for, Him with Us, together in a common home, should make the waiting worth it. I want to draw strength from Simon and Anna’s examples as I wait.   



Is it a blessing?


Is it a blessing to be told to wait and see? 

Is it a blessing to have to hang on and on and on and on

Through widowhood and poverty, 

Ageing and calamity,

Triumph and disaster, 

Until, finally, release? 


Is it a blessing to persevere through 

drought and storm and flooding rain, 

Through harvest and famine

and yeses and nos and successes and

failures and questions without answers and answers without questions and

piercing swords and speaking against



the consolation prize? 


The prize which for those who’ve been trying hard but who will never win 

Is the only comfort on offer at

The end

Of all the competition? 


The consolation prize which graces many a mantle of 

The fat kid

The slow kid

The new kid

The unco kid

The sick of being bullied kid

The trying and the tried kid 

You’ll never win 

The war

The rat race

The accolades 



But you can receive the consolation prize and finally turn your eyes 

towards the comfort and joy you’ve been waiting for and wanting for and looking for and then, 

so they tell me, 

all the waiting will be worth it. 



Joanna Hayes lives on Bidjigal land with her cat Alexei and collection of books. She teaches English to adult speakers of other languages and plays as many board games as possible with her Armenian-Australian fiancé.



This devotional is the sixth in a series of daily email devotionals for Advent 2023. This year's series reflects on the longing, hope, and beauty of God’s ‘Common Home’ being realised, revealed, and renewed through the birth of Jesus.

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Advent: Common Home