Hope is an Anchor

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We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  Hebrews 6:19

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Angels

angelBefore the journey to Bethlehem, before the lack of adequate lodging, before the manger or the shepherds or the wise men, there was an angel speaking to a young woman.  This is where our Advent story really begins.  This is where the wonder and the mystery and the waiting all start.  I began my Advent observance by placing an angel in the manger scene.

It was the angel, Gabriel, who delivered the good news to Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38), but angels appear throughout the Christmas story.  When we think of the angel in the manger scene, we most often consider the one who appeared to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20).  An angel spoke to Joseph as well (Matthew 1:18-24).

If you read about each of these angelic encounters, you will notice a theme.  Each time the angels speak, they say, “Do not be afraid.”  In each case, there are plenty of reasons to be fearful.  It is difficult to imagine how we might react to finding ourselves in any of these situations.  But each time, there is someone there to offer reassurance.  “Do not be afraid.”

That same reassurance is offered to us today, and we, in turn, can offer it to others.  That’s really what HOPE is all about, right?

Hope

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Advent begins today.  I hope you are spending this Sunday of HOPE with family and friends.  Maybe you will worship in a formal setting, or maybe you will simply sit quietly with a cup of coffee and revisit the blessings from your Thanksgiving celebration.  Perhaps you are reeling from the aftershock of Black Friday, or you might be enthusiastically cheering your favorite NFL team to victory.  Maybe you’ll do all of the above.  Whatever this day brings, my hope is that it finds you in a spirit of anticipation for the special days ahead.

I love that Advent begins with Hope Sunday and follows so closely on the heels of Thanksgiving.  Hope is sometimes difficult to muster, but gratitude breeds hope.  God’s perfect timing.

My HOPE for you this week and throughout Advent is that you find ways to make your observance personal and then share it with others.  What is your HOPE for the upcoming holiday season?  Please share in the comments below and join us on the Waiting for Jesus Facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/Waiting-for-Jesus-225478267868701/

 

Preparations

stable-small     Today I unpacked the stable.  Tomorrow, on the first Sunday of Advent, I will unpack the angel.  Each Sunday of the Advent season, I will unpack another figure, another key player in the Christmas story, another person waiting to experience the arrival of the Christ child.

This stable appears to be old and drafty, the way we often imagine the birthplace of Jesus.  It was created by my father, so it holds a special significance to me beyond its role in the Nativity scene.

My father was an artist.  In my earliest memories he is sitting on the back porch carving wood with his pocket knife.  He called it whittling, but he was not mindlessly shaving slivers from a stick.  No, he created beautiful wooden sculptures with great skill and precision.  When the carving was done, he spent at least as many hours rubbing, polishing, buffing the wood to glossy perfection.  He also painted and sculpted in stone, but carving wood was a spiritual practice for him.  He saw God in the natural beauty of wood grain.

from Waiting for Jesus

We are approaching the end of a busy week.  You may have prepared your home for guests, cooked a lavish feast, “shopped til you dropped,” carried home a tree tied to the top of your car, attempted to make that same tree stand up straight, untangled miles of lights, watched hours and hours of football, or participated in any number of other holiday traditions.

I hope you are also preparing your home and your heart for the observance of Advent, and I hope you’ll  join me here at IdaBethGeschke.com and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Waiting-for-Jesus-225478267868701/ to share thoughts, reflections, creative expressions, and prayers during the Advent season.

I wish you blessings while we wait…