Advent – HOPE

December 1st. A day of great joy in my house ever since childhood: the day we can start listening to the Christmas songs and putting up the decorations!

It reminds me of the fun I always had and still have with my amazing family. The joy, the love, the renewing and strengthening of family bonds as we manically throw bits of wrapping paper, tinsel and baubles at each other and the tree; laughing ’til we can’t stand to breathe and belting out Christmas tunes.

Now I’m 33 and living in an idyllic flint cottage on the Downs. So, this afternoon I’ve been listening to the great Christmas Cornucopia by Annie Lennox, a roaring stompy-folky-singy collection of traditional carols reworked. Awesome.

And I’ve been creating my Advent Altar.

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Working alongside Holland and Flannery at Sang Rouge, Terre Blanc, and taking inspiration from the Advent sermon series at All Souls Church, I’m spending the four Sundays of advent contemplating the deeper meaning of this season: the Coming of the Christ.

HOPE

Luke tells us in his gospel that he’s put together a true account of “the events that have been fulfilled among us” (1). When you look at the Old Testament, there are literally hundreds of prophesies about the coming of the Christ that are fulfilled once and for all in Jesus’ birth.

For centuries, the Jewish people had been reading about, and anticipating, the birth of the Immanuel, ‘God among us’ (Isaiah 7:14).

The Hope of Advent embodies all that hope. All the centuries of hoping, waiting, expecting, trusting. God had fulfilled His promises in the past, so the people knew that He would come, but when?

Longing. That’s what this kind of hope feels like to me today. Advent celebrates the gospel of Jesus’ birth and the hope that He brings to the world through salvation. Without him, we’re separated from God with no way back. With him, through his loving sacrifice, we’re reunited with the Divine and reconciled in love. Naturally, we long for that reunion. Everything we seek in life is basically just a substitute for the Eternal Love we find when we reach out with open arms to the One and accept the unconditional love He longs to give us, too.

The Hope of Advent is the hope brought to a hopeless world by the only one who can bring it.

But that’s not the end of the story. There’s more to come and we’re living in our own time of anticipation. Known variously as ‘the Last Days’, the ‘period of Grace’, the ‘Kali Yuga’ (Hinduism), these are prophesied to be times of great change on the earth and the Hope of Christ’s return is with us again.

Knowing that God ALWAYS fulfils on His promises gives me faith and certainty that he will come again, just as he has said. “This is why you also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (2) Mathew 24:44

So as I meditate on Hope and contemplate Advent, I am starting to feel the sense of anticipation and expectation, not just of the celebration of an event that changed everything in our history and our relationship with God, but of the coming of Christ that we will experience for ourselves.

I long for his arrival and the new world he will bring. A world of love, peace, joy and perfection. A world in which we are fully in harmony with the love of God. A world where we grow and fulfil our greatest potential, living our lives in the glory of God and shining bright like stars.

This is my hope. This is Advent.

Amen.

(2) Excerpt From: Holman Bible Publishers. “The Holy Bible: HCSB Digital Text Edition.” B&H Publishing Group, 2009. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/holy-bible-hcsb-digital-text/id393919979?mt=11

(1) Excerpt From: Holman Bible Publishers. “The Holy Bible: HCSB Digital Text Edition.” B&H Publishing Group, 2009. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/holy-bible-hcsb-digital-text/id393919979?mt=11

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2 thoughts on “Advent – HOPE

  1. The Christmas Cornucopia album is always playing here on Christmas Day as well. Some seem to think that Christmas Carols are little twee or unfashionable. We couldn’t disagree more! Annie Lennox’s voice is strident and full of emotion on that album and it really gives those carols the powerful performance they deserve.

    Beautiful altar!

    Thanks for sharing the ‘Hope’ meditation thoughts and realisations, Sally. We’ll be with you in spirit on Sunday, for the candle lighting and ‘Love’ reflection. We’re really enjoying this link up. Jode Grey is joining in too, so we’ve put a blog link here.

    http://jodegrayart.wordpress.com/

    Be with you Sunday! Blessings….SRTB.

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