Starting this weekend, my blogs will be posted on Saturday or Sunday to follow the Advent calendar. And if you are reading this on November 30 or December 1st, we are entering the first week.
Advent means coming. This morning I read that it is a preparation time. For hundreds of years many Christians have celebrated this waiting time with Advent wreaths – with four candles portraying four virtues: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. And the fifth candle, lit on Christmas Day is the culmination of the waiting, the arrival of the Christ child!
Of course, now you can have Advent anyway you want it. Quite frankly the securitization of any sacred holiday amuses and even saddens me. Chocolate Advent calendars are popular, but commercial enterprises are selling everything from tea to wine… 25 days worth!
While it is fun to create a waiting time I have been challenged to make it a devotional time; a time to slow down and listen and wait. This can be challenging in a season of busyness.
Drawing for me, slows me down, and this year I decided to created colouring pictures depicting these four words. I was challenged this week to take time to colour them myself!
Every year I do something different, and this year (was this a God-prompt?), I decided to draw stained glass windows. As I drew, I wondered what God was saying to me.
A long time ago, I dabbled in stained glass and took a class. My husband was much more proficient at it, but I was scared of getting cut. The pieces were sharp, and you had to cut the glass very carefully. However, the end result was beautiful.
Sometimes life seems broken. I have a lot of pieces to my life – some colourful, others more dull and ordinary. I love the idea of giving all your broken pieces to God who can make something beautiful out of them.
There is Hope in that! The verse on the bottom of the drawing is from Romans 12:12, one of my favourites. It says to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12). I noted… this is not an option. No, we are told to be joyful in hope – hope that isn’t dependant on circumstances. In fact we are to be patient in affliction. I’m not always so good at that.
To be patient is to let it go, to let God be God, to know that there is a much bigger picture that I don’t see. It is to know that waiting is sometimes good for me, and there are lessons to be learned on the journey of suffering. I must admit I don’t always like this.
When I don’t know what to do, I am driven to prayer. “Lord, you Know”, has become my prayer of late. Or, “Lord, have mercy.” I whisper this some days as I attend the very sick and dying. And you know, God faithfully shows up and the most amazing things happen.
Which brings me back to Hope. . .
What does Hope mean to you?
If you would like a jpg of the drawing page, do e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you. I will be colouring it this week, along with my grandchildren!
May you be filled with Hope this week as we enter this wondrous season.