Meeting Hopes and Fears

Entering this Advent season with acute aches and chronic longings, we’re drawn to the ready gifts offered by A Rocha Arts partners. Lyric expressions taken from recently-released works serve as a spring from which each week’s reflection flows.

The Third Week of Advent: Bethlehem by Kellie Haddock. Consider listening to her song before, after, or while you read.

by Sara Caruso

The hopes and fears
Of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

I worry. From the daily worries of whether or not that work project was good enough, or if I said the right thing to that co-worker, to bigger, deeper fears about my life’s purpose, the safety of my loved ones, and the state of the environment. My struggle with fear and worry is often not because I think that God is too small for my problems, but that I feel my problems are too small for God. Not that God doesn’t care for me, because I trust that He does, but I can’t see how my life is connected to His plan. The Bible gives us so many examples of scared, imperfect people overcoming great obstacles—Moses, David, Mary, Peter, Paul, and so on. But these stories often feel discouraging to me. Of course, God saw them through. We can clearly see throughout the Bible how all of these people were critical to the story of Christ and the Church. In that context, my worries, even the big ones, don’t seem so significant. Why would God intervene?

House Sparrow by David Beattie of A Rocha UK (modified)

This Advent season, I am feeling this burden of fear and worry more heavily than usual. The news is full of divisive stories. The warnings about the impact of our changing climate continue to be raised. The A Rocha family is moving through a time of unexpected grief and loss. How do we, this weary world, find hope and joy?

In the classic Christmas song, O Little Town of Bethlehem, I have always thought about those who were living in Jesus’s time when singing “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight,” remembering the long wait for a Messiah and all the prophecies finally being fulfilled through this tiny baby. This year though, in her beautiful rendition, Bethlehem, Kellie Haddock helped me to connect to the lyrics in a new way. As she repeats the refrain and the music builds, I am reminded that Jesus does meet the hopes and fears of ALL the years. Even my fears, even this year. This isn’t only a promise for those that came before; it is a promise for all of us. Our heavenly Father is enough to fill our every hope and overcome our every fear.

As Jesus promises in Matthew 10:29, not one sparrow will fall to the ground apart from our Father. No, my daily worries are not going to go away, and no, they won’t always be resolved as I want them to be. But, just as the people of the Old Testament waited on the birth of Christ, we now wait for His return, knowing that the troubles we face are seen and felt and met by Him.


Sara has a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Purdue University. She has been working in the field of conservation education for several years and is currently an environmental interpreter at her local zoo, helping guests connect to the natural world and feel empowered to take conservation action. After spending several years in sunny Florida, Sara now resides back in her home state of Indiana, along with her beloved cat and dog. She loves being able to watch local wildlife in the small patch of woods behind her house and enjoys seeing the changes that come with each season.

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