The appearance of Christmas decorations in stores and at church remind us that Advent is here. It’s time to prepare for, and to celebrate, Christmas, Jesus’ birthday.
Christmas is a Christian celebration of God’s choice to come and live among us in the person of Jesus. At church we light a candle each week in December for the four weeks of Advent, symbolizing Jesus as the light of the world. The first is called the candle of Hope. What is the Hope, we are called to have?
The candle of Hope calls me to recognize the goodness that is growing in our world. For sure, there seems to be more and more violence. Or, is it just that we now have the technology to know about the atrocities of war and oppression. For sure, the news media serves it up every day even while it’s still happening. I understand that we need to know that injustice exists in order to be moved to action. But, I’m not sure a steady diet is helpful.
Although the stories of goodness in our world, don’t always make the news headlines, we can seek them out. Today, the world reacts with tremendous support in the face of natural disasters and war. Individuals and groups give both financial aid and on- the-ground personnel in the midst of war. At home, in our own communities we participate in fund raisers to support the homeless and animal shelters and many others. We donate to food drives and Christmas baskets. Many today, are willing to help. When we open our eyes, our world abounds with goodness. No longer do we believe that poverty is the result of God’s punishment. Our tax dollars support social programs that bring goodness to our nation.
When I light the candle of Hope, I remember the children at the nursing home reaching out with hugs to bring smiles from the residents. I remember the teen that shoveled a senior’s drive without being asked. I remember the busy parent that takes time to serve on our church board. As our population increases so does the potential for goodness. This year I intend to prepare for Christmas, by opening my eyes to the Hope that surrounds me. I want to catch a glimpse of God’s love ruling our world.
“But seek ye first thekingdomofGod, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33 KJV)