Sunday, 2 December 2012

Advent of Hope

Today is Advent Sunday. This evening at the two congregations I serve we will be holding candle light services to celebrate the coming of the light in this time of darkness. During the service I will offer a time for all present to light a flame of thanks for someone who has brought the light of hope into our offer a prayer of thanks for their Immanuel...we will also share a time for quiet reflection to focus on hope for the future, either for ourselves, our loved ones, for humanity or for the whole of life, for what ever our hearts desire...

The word Advent is derived from "adventus", which means coming. It is a period of expectation, of anticipation; it is a time for waiting; it is a time for preparation. But what is that we are waiting for?

The Christian tradition teaches that two thousand years ago angels brought news that a child would be born, and that he would save humankind. The prophets predicted his arrival. They also predicted the humble shepherds and the wise sages travelling from afar following that wondrous star, so brilliant and yet so far away. They travelled in wonder and anticipation, but the journey took time. It took them quite some time to arrive at their physical destination as well as their spiritual realisation that the hope of humanity rested in the infinite potential of a newborn child.

Advent is a reminder that the hope for all of humanity is renewed every night a child is born. For as Sophia Lyon Fah’s said “Every night a child is born, is a holy night.” Every night is a holy night. Every moment is holy, if we are prepared to receive it this way.

Advent this holy time is an invitation to be the traveller as well as the child, to be the prophet as well as the promise. This season of Advent is a period that we are given to journey inwardly and to prepare ourselves for the blessings of hope and the possibilities of miracle.

The period of waiting will soon be over, for the light is about to come.

Advent "adventus", it means “coming”.

The hope of humanity is coming, with the birth of an ordinary child.

The promise of the light is coming, in the longest darkest night.

Something wonderful is coming.

Now is the time to prepare for it....

When I think of Advent what really comes to my mind is hope...hope that is yet to come...this time, the darkest of the year is a time of is a time to prepare us for the light that will soon come from this the deepest darkest time of the year...

John Taylor says, “we human creatures, in spite of all that has happened to us and been done by us, are still hopeful. Something new, something vital, something promising, is always coming, and we are always expecting. Advent is a time of anticipation and as long as we expect, as long as we hope, someone will light a candle against the prevailing darkness – and neither the winds of hate nor the gales of evil will extinguish it.”

This is the time of darkness, but it is also a time of hope of waiting for the new light that is soon to come. I suspect that we are all waiting for something, I wonder what it is that you the reader are waiting for. Maybe some dream for the future, something you've always wanted to try, but were too afraid to. Or maybe it's a wish for a loved one, someone in your family or the wider community. Maybe it's a wish for the whole of humanity. Advent is a time to form these wishes in the minds of our hearts and to prepare ourselves for them.

Advent is about the hope that emerges from the darkness of winter. Over the coming weeks I would like you who reads this to think about hope, I’d like you to envision it. I would like you to develop hope in your soul, to long for it. Hope you see is really about longing. There is always something that we could, perhaps should, be striving for. There are always improvements to be made. I’d like you to join with me and others and to attempt to develop this in the coming weeks and then to perhaps commit to it in the New Year. What are you waiting for, what does your heart desire, if not for yourselves, then for someone else? For what do you long?

You may think that everything is perfect. Well if that is so, then we do not need hope; the perfect life does not need hope. But are we perfect? Do we live in a perfect society? I know that I am far from perfect. This is why I need hope. I need hope because it draws me out of myself and enables me to engage with others. Don’t we all need to be drawn out of ourselves. Don’t we all need to fully engage with each other and all of life for that matter.

So I would like you the reader to hope, I would like you to long, but I would also ask you to wait. I would like you to wait, at least until the turning of the year before you engage with what it is you desire either for yourself or for someone else. For now, in this advent season, I would like you to wait. I would like you to contemplate and yearn for what it is that you would like, for what it is that you desire to change. If you do you will be ready to engage with whatever it is that needs to be done in order to bring about the change that you have begun to envision.

Now is the time to is the time to is the time to is the time to wait in anticipation... 

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