Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent: HOPE

To make less complex
To make easier
Disentangle, Clarify, Reduce, Explain

Don't try to do it all. Do what matters most.

Every year, Advent has been a season of joy and excitement for me. I think because I just mash it up as a part of Christmas. But this year, it's loud and clear that Advent is a separate season. Yes, Advent is about anticipating the arrival of a Savior. But in today's world, we've turned that into a hurried and rushed time of the year where all of the focus is on the anticipation and none of it is on the waiting.

At church this past week, a lot of emphasis was placed on the idea of simplifying things, of making this season less about all the things we have to do and more about all the things we truly need to do.

So I've been digging. Deep inside myself.

In my digging, I was first pointed towards the book of Hebrews. Chapter 11 is all about people in the Old Testament who had great faith in God and how that faith played out in their lives. Chapter 12 goes on to say 3 main things - rely on your faith, stay focused on Christ, and don't be afraid of God's corrections. Chapter 13 then begins by saying - Don't forget about love.

The next thing that came up was a daily devotional I receive that has a small bit of C.S. Lewis' writing. Yesterday, it was from "Mere Christianity" and the part that stood out to me was that we can't just read the words of Christ or study His life and then attempt to follow it. Instead, we should recognize that Christ is with us and that we can open ourselves up so that, little by little, Christ will come into us and live through us.

And the next thing that was tossed into my path was the work of Gungor and The Liturgists and their offering for Advent and the Christmas season (Oh Light). A spoken word piece by Amena Brown that speaks to the brokenness all around us. A meditation by Science Mike and Michael Gungor that took me on a journey through time and space.

And here is where I ended up, here is where I focus in this first week of Advent.

There has always been and will always be pain and suffering and death and trauma and harm and confusion in the world.

But there is HOPE.

Because the Light of Our Creator is within each of us. And from that Light, we have love and joy and healing and peace.

My prayers this week are that those who feel hopeless will see a spark of light and they will find HOPE. That those who are consumed by anger, those who cause harm, those who feel lost or worthless, those who feel unloved, those who are mourning, those who weep... all of us who have and will and are experiencing the sufferings of living will see even a glimmer of HOPE and cling to it.

Christ is coming. Advent prepares us for His coming. One candle this week, a candle for HOPE. Even if that single light seems very far away. Know that HOPE is coming.

If I can pray for you this week, please let me know. You can comment here on the blog, you can message me, email me, text me. You can share details or just raise your hand silently. Let's join our prayers together.

sig jan 2014 photo owlsig.jpg

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