Sunday, November 28th
Light the first candle of Hope.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
~ Psalm 33:20-22 (NRSV)
Let’s envision a child who is hoping for one special Christmas gift. He becomes quite watchful, looking everywhere for signs that his wish will come true – that the present will soon be his. One day, he actually finds a wrapped gift hidden in the corner of a closet. He very carefully removes one edge of tape, and sees a tiny glimpse of what might be his hoped-for treasure! Each day his excitement grows, as he quietly sneaks into the closet to tear a little bit more of the paper so that more of the gift is revealed. He eventually sees enough of the gift to know with certainty that yes, this IS the gift he has longed for, already there and ready for him! He will now eagerly wait for Christmas morning, when he can completely unwrap and fully enjoy the wonderful present.
This is our gift of Advent hope. We already know that Jesus has come, we even know that Christ is here with us now. We see glimpses of his presence every day, and as we become more attentive, we will keep tearing away the layers that keep us from seeing and experiencing him more fully. Our Advent hope comes from feeling the presence of Christ here and now, and in our longing for that day when we will fully know and love him.
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. ~ Ephesians 1:17-19 (NRSV)
Light the Christ candle.
“Lighthouses don’t go running all over the island looking for boats to save;
they just stand there shining.”
~ Anne Lamott, in Bird by Bird
How will we shine with the bright hope of Christ this week? How will we light the way for those who need hope for their days? Let’s use our senses to remain attentive to the hope of Christ around and within us. The more we notice this hope, we will find that our own hope becomes more certain. And the more we use our senses to draw in and absorb this hope found in Christ, we will find that we become bright beacons that shine with hope for others.
(A Definition Prayer of Hope)
Strengthen my faith, that I may fully expect, trust, and hope in you.
Deepen my love, that I may longingly desire, yearn, and hope for you.
Connect my soul, that I may patiently pray, contemplate, and hope with you.
Awaken my senses, that I may eagerly anticipate, await, and hope upon you.
Coming Monday: Watch Attentively for Hope (Eyes)