As Christians we are amid the season of Advent, when we anticipate the coming of the one who will transform our world from despair to hope, oppression to freedom, from a time of darkness to a season of light.
Christmas is not just about the baby Jesus, it is about God coming to be present with us in the hardest of times. Advent is a season of waiting in hope and that is something we are all pretty accustom too right now.
The whole world is waiting in hope and longing for healing. Hope and faith go hand in hand. Every year the season of Advent begins with lighting the candle of hope.
It is said we begin with the light of hope “because it is the only candle that is strong enough to shine by itself in the darkness.” If ever we needed hope to shine it’s now. So many of us are feeling the sadness of having annual celebrations and gatherings cancelled.
Most of us live in the hope that if we follow the protocols and keep to ourselves we will be able to celebrate together again soon.
The truth is most faiths are in a season when they celebrate light breaking the darkness. It makes a lot of sense for us in here in the dark rainy season of long nights and short days. But these faith practices of hope can carry us throughout the year and sustain us for the long term.
Advent waits for the Christ child who births hope, peace, joy and love into a desperate world. The Christmas story is about the presence of God dwelling among us during hard times.
Life is always challenging but this year it feels more challenging than ever. Hope is needed more than I’ve ever known it before. Hope, love, joy, and peace feel distant as we enter into Christmas this year. For many of us it feels like our holiday season, has been ripped out from under us, but it hasn’t.
The world has faced challenges like this before, we as individuals face challenges every day and when we turn to the light of hope, we are given the ability to keep on going. It’s okay the grieve and be sad.
Hope doesn’t mean we have it figured out, in fact hope aligns with life and speaks light into our fears. In a year when many of us feel like we have lost ourselves, hope shows up and reminds us that we are not alone we are in this together.
So when you start to feel like hope is drifting away let me encourage you to find it in moments of laughter, joy, awe, music, family and worship.
Let me encourage you to spend time in prayer, meditation and rituals like those of lighting candles to shine hope, peace, joy and love into the places of your lives and in our world that need light this season.
Rev. Karen Millard is an ordained minister of Squamish United Church