Advent 1: Hope

It may not look like it, but just one bough over the front door took over an hour and many, many trips up and down the step ladder. I replaced hooks, adjusted bows, and changed a few bulbs (you can tell this is an old decoration – there are bulbs to change!) I wiggled the stepladder from one side to the other.

Then I decided to take some pruning shears and hedge clippers to a bush out front (a LARGE bush) which required shoving a tall step ladder around and around the bush. I only fell off once, and that was into the bush! A few minor scrapes and leaves in my hair – otherwise all is well. I wanted to put on our Christmas lights, and the bush needed to be trimmed first. I wanted the lights to be seen as you drive up the street. I wanted our home to be a beacon of Hope. Something we all need right now…

It’s been a dark couple of months. Years. Seasons.

COVID-19 has wrapped us in tentacle-like outbreaks and variants, changing the way we live and work, and spend time with people. The announcement of the omega variant over the weekend was disheartening, to say the least. It is reported to be more virulent, more contagious. I’m vaxxed and wear a mask all the time… but it really hit me hard. Why NOW?

The word for the first week of Advent is HOPE. Hope is more than positive thinking. It’s walking forward in muddy knee-deep water, knowing the ground is level. It’s driving in the fog, believing that the other cars on the road have their headlights on. It’s being a person of integrity when so many take shortcuts. It’s choosing to put my life and plans in the Creator of the universe, despite not knowing how it will all play out.

Hope is looking back at the ways the Holy One spoke through the prophets and believing God still speaks to us. Hope is standing in the darkness and defying it. Hope is focusing on the Light. Hope is choosing to move beyond rational thought and reason, and trusting in the nature and love of God.

After Annunciation by Madeline L’Engle

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There’d have been no room for the child.

May Love bloom bright and wild in your heart this Advent. When it does, that’s Hope, glimmering in the darkness.

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