The Dawning of Hope ...
The season of Thanksgiving is now upon us and Advent is just around the corner! Can you believe it? It’s taken me by surprise! I was recently walking through a mall and I saw a sign in a window that said, “Give thanks with style.” This is meant to conjure up images of glorious Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, fond words of lovingly shared with family and friends, as we gather with our stylish gifts, accessories, and now mobile devices. Perhaps it’s more likely that the reality is a mad chaos as we rush to get it all done, forgetting something, frustration spilling over as we wait in long lines, doing our best to keep it together as we dread having to talk politics with those “once a year” relatives. Perhaps this is a lonely time as you long for loved ones. Maybe you’re a little on edge this year or know someone who is. This can be a confusing time as our reality of the holiday’s conflict with the commercial ideal.
As we draw near to this Thanksgiving and the new Advent season of waiting in holy anticipation; can we join with the angels, shepherds, and wise men, bearing the sights and sounds of hope? One righteous and devout elder of Jerusalem, Simeon, took baby Jesus in his arms, when he was only a week old and proclaimed boldly, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32) This is a minority, yet grand idea held within the voices of the greatest prophets proclaiming that it wasn’t enough that God only loved the Hebrew people, but through Yahweh’s Covenant people, was creating the dawn of a light for all nations. The birth of Jesus is the both the culmination of this light and the dawn of new hope for the world. God’s reality conflicted with the popular Messianic style and ideal of the times. God is constantly confusing and subverting our worldly expectations! My deepest prayer, this time of year, is that we would be a people (church) that will allow God to interrupt our confusing consumer ideals and let the hope of Christ’s birth dawn anew in our lives and relationships. May you know real and abiding hope, peace, joy, and love this Thanksgiving and Christmas time.
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I'm a follower of Christ, husband, father, friend, pastor, story teller, asker of questions, inspired by biblical narratives, social justice advocate, sports enthusiast, drinker of over priced coffee and general seeker of God's redemptive possibilities. Yeah, that about covers it. (If you discover something else, let me know!)