Reflecting on the First Week of Advent (The Hope Candle)

This week I’ve been praying for Hope.

It started by remembering all those that had a difficult time during Thanksgiving.  Some were in mourning, some were hospitalized, some are untreatable, unemployed, depressed, trafficked, poverty-stricken and in short, those who I’d rather not trade places with.  I found myself praying for the families connected to names like Sandusky, Fine and  Conrad Murray. Eventually I found myself saying a prayer for them.
This week also marked World AIDS Day.  If anyone could use hope, it’s the HIV/AIDS victim (and their families).  As you may know, this summer I spent a week at the “All Saints” AIDS Camp in the Nassau, Bahamas with members of the youth group in former church in New Jersey.  For many of us, it was our second time there, but I’d say just as life-altering as the first.  As I have been saying, there are only certain lessons you can learn at a place like this.
I’ve also been trying to walk around grateful for the Hope of Jesus.  One of my favorite moments in life is encountering those who have hope in the midst of impossible circumstances (like some of our friends at the AIDS Camp).  It’s a rare and special thing and I am reminded when we find hope, we find a heart that proclaims that there is something beyond our lives that is greater than our pressing circumstances, more creative than our imaginations and stronger than our abilities to improve them.
As encouraging as this resilient hope is to find, I am even more moved that this hope only works if it’s anchored in God HImself.  And so the story we find ourselves in is the one about when God came near, and became on of us and we call him Emmanuel.  He is the one that brings the hope of salvation.
Tomorrow we light the “Grace” candle.


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