Hope

It’s such a weird year.  I find myself feeling a gamut of emotions these days and I do not think I am alone.  This week is no exception packed full.  A myriad of stressful deadlines, a too long “to do” list, contrasted with anticipated and coveted time with family is near. Not only is it Thanksgiving but my husband and I celebrated our 18th Wedding Anniversary as well.  I’m filled with such gratefulness for so many things.  My husband being top among them.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve a fabulous church filled with so many blessings.  I thankful for the lovely city we live in and all of the incredible things happening in Winston-Salem.  I am thankful for the resources to more than adequately meet my needs.

But the feeling that keeps bubbling to the top for me of late is a deep sense of hope.  Sounds strange as our nation rebounds out of a dark season of icky politics that has been quite the downer.  And yet, this seed within me, deep in my gut, remains grounded in feelings of unflappable hope.  Maybe its the season we are entering into this week.  Or maybe it’s the fruit of a deep faith in God.

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I can’t wait for the season of Advent to begin this Sunday.  One of my favorite things began happening this past week.  Some lovely women (there may be a man or two offering an assist) spent hours decorating our sanctuary and auditorium for Advent.  Trees with lights and Chrismons go up and Moravian Stars appear everywhere.  This year I walked by late one afternoon and the humongous star that hangs high above the chancel was down carefully sitting on a box waiting to be hung.  As you can see by the pictures – that thing is huge!  It’s almost as tall as I am.

As I stood beside the star imagining the next 4 weeks and all that would take place in the sanctuary, my heart just expanded with – hope.  Expectation.  Wonder.  All the things that we should be feeling as we embrace and await once again this great mystery of the birth of Jesus.

Hopefulness is such a future oriented emotion.  It drips with ideas about what could be.  It img_1613often lacks facts to substantiate it.  It is very hard to stamp out once it takes root.  And it has the power to shape that which is to come which in fact makes it quite powerful.  Hope comes in such strange packages, right?  For me this year it is in the Moravian Star.  (It’s not like I’m only going to see a couple of those around town!)  For others it comes in the helping hands of another (like the Overflow Shelter that begins December 1 to serve those on the street that don’t have a bed in the regularly operating shelters throughout the city.) For others hope comes in the energy and eyes of a young person that sees the world a different way.  Or maybe Hope’s package is a favorite seasonal song or a particular piece of music.

For some it comes in God’s word.

What came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light for all people.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light. -John 1:4-5

Or

“Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you.  Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father.  He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.” -Luke 1:30-33

What package does hope come in for you this year? I hope one of those packages will be in the form of worship.  Come, sit in our beautifully decorated holy spaces and listen to the music, pray your heart’s desire, be inspired by God’s Word and bask in the abundance of — Hope.

Grace and Peace,

Lory Beth

 

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