Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hope: An Advent Meditation

Updated below to include picture of me giving the Advent meditation. This picture was taken by my friend's three year old son so I just HAD to include it! ;)

Inspired by BubandPie's and The Bosphorus's** recent posts on Advent, I thought I would share the Advent meditation I was asked to do in church today:

Today we begin the celebration of Advent. Advent, which means arrival, is the time as Christians when we prepare inwardly and corporately for Christmas: the day we recognize the birth of the Messiah. For each of the four Sundays of Advent we dwell on a different theme--hope, peace, joy and love. Our hope this month is that our services will be a place to set aside the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, take some deep breaths and turn our thoughts and minds towards Christ.

The first week of Advent, we focus on hope. Simply put hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. Some hope comes easily. My daughter’s hope for the presents on her Christmas list, my son’s hope for the new Nintendo Wii system or the hope of young love. But some hope comes with more difficulty. It comes with experiencing failure and disappointment. It comes with the growing realization that the world doesn’t always give us what is wanted or that events don't always turn out for the best and that we make choices that harm ourselves and others. This hard-earned hope believes in the promise of redemption.

I recently became acquainted with this song by Johnny Cash.

I Came to Believe

I couldn't manage the problems I laid on myself
And it just made it worse when I laid them on somebody else
So I finally surrendered it all brought down in despair
I cried out for help and I felt a warm comforter there

And I came to believe in a power much higher than I
I came to believe that I needed help to get by
In childlike faith I gave in and gave him a try
And I came to believe in a power much higher than I

Nothing worked out when I handled it all on my own
And each time I failed it made me feel twice as alone
Then I cried, "Lord there must be a sure and easier way
For it just cannot be that a man should lose hope every day.

And I came to believe in a power much higher than I
I came to believe that I needed help to get by
In childlike faith I gave in and gave him a try
And I came to believe in a power much higher than I
With Christ, I have hope every day. Hope not only that he has saved me but that he will guide me through my life, take the things that have happened to me and the problems I’ve created for myself and redeem them. I also have hope that he will help me make a difference in the life of others. This is a hope which I think is difficult to grasp and to communicate to others in this world which seems threatened on every side by war, threats of war, disease and numerous other evils. I read somewhere that “to light an Advent candle is to say, in the face of all that suggests the contrary, that God is still alive, still Lord of this world, and, because of that, ‘All will be well, and all will be well, and every manner of being will be well.’”

Let’s remember that hope today as we light the first Advent candle of the season.

Photo courtesy of Samuel C.

** The Bosphorus is a contributor over at AtomicTumor. Many people have been following along as AT, now the primary contributor, detailed the illness and of his wife, GAC (BJ).


Sophie said...

Thanks for your advent meditation, Mary. I love this season, and I love my Advent wreath. Posts such as yours help me focus on what is really important this season.

Sheila said...

Excellent thoughts! Thanks for sharing in church. Samuel took a picture of you, by the way. I'll email it to you :)

Anonymous said...

She, I thought I noticed a flash!