Each Advent candle represents something, well actually a word and an idea: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. 3 blue candles and 1 pink, with a large white candle in the center representing Christ. (See why I get excited on Christmas Eve? I love lighting the Christ candle, reminding us all that Christ is in our world. I’m getting ahead of myself…)
This past week I’ve been on the look out for where I see HOPE.
So, here goes nothing…
Hope 1: The recent election has given permission to a lot of violence. I’m not going to rehash what I’ve seen on the news other than to say it’s uncalled for. However, I’ve read reports of counter attacks, attacks of love, which give me and our world a bit of hope.
Target stood up once again for its stance on LGBTQ issues, including the transgender bathroom debate. Love you Target. Amazon has a lovely commercial with a priest and a Muslim Imam. It’s hard to boycott your favorite website because they sell products of the president-elect. It’s even harder to boycott after an ad like that one. (The boycott was short lived.) Kelloggs stood up against hate by pulling ads from Brietbart, a right wing and racist online news site. Anyone up for some Rice Krispie squares? I’ve read stories about people standing up to bullies and abusers, of not taking shit and basically telling the world, “I will not be afraid.”
Though these are little things, it gives me hope that perhaps our world isn’t as doomed as I think it is.
Hope 2: Usually this time of year I’m so busy and so stressed and so tired that by the time Christmas comes around, I want my blanket, pjs and pillow. I usually don’t feel anything. I mean, I do but…It’s almost like I’m so caught up in the hustle and bustle, parties and youth events and wrapping presents and blah that I forget what the season is all about, which I know by heart since I am a pastor and a person of faith. It’s almost like Charlie Brown, who’s constantly trying to find meaning during the Christmas season, even though (I think) he knows.
This year I decided to focus on that meaning and read a daily devotional book that had me standing in line at Target (again) buying an Advent calendar for $2.50. And making a star to hang in my room and singing random carols at the top of my lungs. I’m finding the hope of finding meaning during this chaotic, stressful month.
Hope 3: Advent and Christmas means a new church season, traditional worship services and chaotic children’s plays. There’s hope around celebrating this season in the church, of new beginnings because that’s what Advent is for the church: a start to a new year.
Hope 4: I watched my 3 year old niece sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what she wanted for Christmas. I then watched my almost 10 month nephew do the same (and barely cry). This season is about Jesus’ birth but it’s also about the children. And is there anything more precious and hopeful than children?
Where have you seen and witnessed HOPE this past week?
Now the hunt begins for PEACE.