Monday, November 28, 2011

Hope

This holiday weekend was a very good weekend filled with family, friends, food, and tradition. In my family, the women all gather the day after Thanksgiving to shop ‘til we drop together. This year, as we went from place to place, we made a conscious effort to thank and compliment every employee who helped or waited on us. Amid the frenzy of Black Friday consumerism, we wanted to be the calm of the storm, the light peaking through the dark clouds letting each person know that they mattered and someone noticed their frustrations, their tiredness, their needs. It was great! It’s amazing the joy a small word of encouragement and a good portion of patience and understanding can bring to a weary individual.

Despite the fact that we spent all day Friday and half of Saturday Christmas shopping, I was completely unprepared to walk into church Sunday morning and see the Advent wreath. As we lit the first candle, I felt a whiplash of confusion. How could it be the first Sunday of Advent already? I should have known it was coming. I had plenty of clues. As a church secretary, I spent the first half of the week preparing a worship guide with a cover that prominently displays a single lit candle. Thanksgiving had come and gone. Christmas music was playing everywhere. Christmas is coming fast and I’m not ready. Then I realized that Advent is the time of preparation – four whole weeks to prepare for the coming of the King. Advent is a time of preparation – a time to ready myself for the coming of the Christ child. Yes Christmas is coming, but Advent gives me the time and focus I need to prepare for the celebration.

Traditionally, the lighting of the first candle symbolized hope, the hope that is ours in Christ, the hope that is Christ. Hope, not in the water-downed sense of the word where it mean nothing more than a wish, but hope in the sense of knowing that the God of the Universe came to earth as a human child for the purpose of expressing his indescribable love for me to me. I heard a missionary in church today say that a man he once encountered from an unreached tribe in Africa told him that “his god speaks his language” and that’s exactly what Jesus did – he came to us as a man to communicate with us and show his love for us in our humanness. My hope in Jesus is assured by his love, his power, and his desire to be in relationship with me.

This week will be about hope for me. Where do you think I’ll find it? And where will I find myself being the bearer of hope? Christ is coming! Happy first week of Advent everyone!

About the pictures:
Racoon State Park (October 2010)

3 comments:

Common Household Mom said...

To me, it's a sign of hope for the world to hear that some intentionally pleasant people went shopping on Black Friday! I went ice skating. And I loved the photo on the front of the worship guide this Sunday. Thanks for putting it there. Did you take it?

Maureen Profeta said...

Actually, I did take the worship guide cover photo. It didn't turn out as nice as I wanted it to, but it is at least acceptable. Thanks.

Audrey said...

Throughout the year, my day to day hope comes in hoping that I will live a little better that day than I have before. But, my hope is balanced by the reality that when I fail, He will always forgive me and let me try again. Last night when we lit our first advent candle at dinner, my hope was that this advent season I will become closer to God and truly understand the meaning of Christmas in our lives!