Peace

hopepeace

We live in an “unpeaceful” time.  From politics to pipelines to “taking a knee,” battles rage around us.  Historically, there have been greater conflicts, but even an argument over the color of a coffee cup seems like a big deal when you’re in the midst of it.

A little girl in my community saw video on social media of someone stealing money from a tip jar at a local donut shop.  She took her “tooth fairy” money to the donut shop and slipped it into the tip jar with a note saying she was sorry about what happened.  Though the conflict was not her own, she saw a need and stepped in to help.  That’s a pretty big move for such a little girl.

As this week of peace begins, I hope each of us will think about the ways we approach conflict and the ways we interact with those who don’t agree with us.  Maybe we can begin to speak in favor of ideals and values rather than against individuals.  Maybe we can stand up and help, peacefully, even when the conflict doesn’t directly affect us.  The example was set for us thousands of years ago by one who was called the Prince of Peace and again this week by a little girl in a donut shop.  It’s kind of a big deal.

I pray that this week will bring peace to our hearts so we may begin to influence peace in the world around us.  Be sure to stop by and share your stories of peace this week.

Truly…

One Candle for Hope

one-candle

 

Come surely, Lord Jesus, as dawn follows night,

Our hearts long to greet you, as roses the light.

Salvation draw near us, our vision engage.

One candle is lit for the hope of the age.

-from “One Candle Is Lit” by Mary Anne Parrott

 

I was going through some old papers today when I found a note a friend had sent me during her battle with cancer.  It read, in part, “Ida Beth, I have hope because of you!”  She went on to write of her faith in God and her determination to beat cancer.  I honestly don’t know what it was about me that inspired hope in her at that time, but I can tell you for sure that she has given me a new definition for the word hope.  Six months or so have passed, and my friend is feeling well, looking great, and defying all odds.

I hope you have found inspiration for hope this week.  If so, please share your story in the comments and spread the hope!

In the Movies: Hope

skylanterns

Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most.  You need to remember that when you find yourself at the beginning.  Just give hope a chance to float up, and it will, too.

From Hope Floats   

This is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies.  Do you have favorite movie lines that reflect this week’s theme of  hope?  Maybe you have a favorite song lyric that inspires hope.  If so, please share in the comments below.

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

hope-rock

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…