Advent is upon us.
Honestly, growing up, I had no idea what this meant. I knew people with Advent calendars, covered in Santa Claus's and reindeer and it seemed to be some sort of count down method.
When Mr. Curly took an interm pastor position at a Brethren church in Missouri, Advent changed. This 100 year old church had the Advent candles, and the readings. And while the group was small and the ritual so old to them it had practically lost meaning, it was all new to me.
There are many different ideas behind the Advent candles, each church uses different readings and prayers. But there is a common theme.
Sunday, November 28, was the first Sunday in Advent, the Sunday that traditionally stands for HOPE.
The scripture traditionally read is Luke 1:26-38, where the angel tells Mary she is "with child."
Every year since Curly Girl was born, this Sunday has meant so much more to me. HOPE. Does a baby yet unborn hold anything but hope? Hope for life, for joy, for success, for love.... the list goes on.
And so, this last Sunday, though our church doesn't appear to have the Advent candles or the readings (or maybe they were just expecting us to pull it all out and we don't know where it is stored), the week of HOPE began.
Hope is an amazing thing, much like they say of faith in The Rescuers "You can't touch it, or hold it, or wrap it up tight, but it's there just the same, making things right." Hope gives us a reason to keep going.
Another great line about hope, this time from the Shawshank Redemption "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
And one more:
And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.