Sunday, November 29, 2015
The First Sunday
Advent - a long forgotten remembrance from my childhood of purple and pink candles, ceremoniously lit each Sunday with appropriate readings - a time of preparation for the coming of our King - our hearts made ready for the wondrous celebration on Christmas Eve and the excitement of Christmas morning.
Advent - memories of my childhood transitioned to the lives of my children with a wreath some years - other years a paper chain of 25 pieces -other years a special calendar - still with the intention of preparing hearts for the coming of the King.
Advent now - alone in the corner house on a chilly, grey day. Quietly it came - the "idea" of a wreath - the "nudge" to make my heart ready.
And I struggle with the word for this first Sunday of Advent - HOPE. What is "hope" - beyond the definition in the dictionary "A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen"?
As a child it was easy - I was hoping for Christmas morning. As a mother I was hoping for Joy for my children and for them to know their Savior and understand why we celebrated His birth.
For those who are alone, the HOPE of Advent is difficult to grasp. Our hearts are hurting. Memories of past joyous seasons flood our minds as we struggle with whether or not to decorate and, if we do, how to endure gazing at the tree we used to trim together with each ornament a painful reminder of what once was.
So then, what is "Hope" for us - the "feeling of expectation" the "desire for a certain thing"? Truthfully, we don't know what to expect and we desire for things to be the way they once were. And we struggle with it all. And we ask, "Where is my HOPE?"
And quietly my Savior comes with the answer "I am your Hope - I have been your Hope since your childhood, and I will continue to be your Hope in the days to come."
My Hope is not in the decorations or in the external trappings. My Hope is in the ONE for whom the decorations and trappings are displayed. For even without the decorations of this Season, the ONE would still make His way into my daily life -living with me, walking with me, loving me.
I cannot grasp "hope" - but I can and will grasp Christ. As I go into this fifth season alone, I realize my "hope light" has become a bit dim for I am a bit weary. And so He came gently last night and said "Prepare your heart, child. Make the wreath. Walk quietly in this time of preparation. Expect ME. Desire ME. And your hope will be renewed."
And as darkness gently envelops the corner house, the first candle of HOPE is burning bright with the promise of His coming and the expectation of His love.
Be a peace this night dear one, for HE loves you so.