Tag Archives: hope

Gather

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a handpainted card that arrived in the post this week… xx

One of the darkly comical notes for 2020 is that in January I had been considering a “word of the year” (something I’d only done once before).

I said to a friend that I was thinking of the word “gather”, but I wasn’t sure if that was a realistic word for me.

I am an introvert. 

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Advent Week 3: Joy

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I’m a little late with the joy…

In the Godly Play Advent stories, when we come to week three we find that the candle lit for the shepherds is a different colour.

And we say this:  Do you see that the candle is a different colour? It is the colour of roses. This reminds us that while this is a serious time, it is also a time of great joy and celebration. Read the rest of this entry

Advent 2: Hope and Peace

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I have always loved the day that “Christmas” comes out of the attic. I love the magic of lights and candles, colors and keepsakes. 

My mom is a boss when it comes to Christmas decorations – she used to cover the mantelpiece with angel hair, lights, and figurines. I thought it was magical. 

Mom would sit us down at the table (myself and my three sisters), and we would get to choose which Christmas cookies we would bake with her. These delicacies would then be plated up and given away as gifts. 

Nat King Cole is the soundtrack in these memories.

The practice of placing a wreath of holly on the front door began in Ireland. Holly flourishes at Christmastime, and it gave poorer people the ability to generously decorate their homes. 

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Advent 1: Wait in Hope

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; 

without him nothing was made that has been made. 

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

Advent is a time of preparation. It is a time when the world is waiting and longing for light in the darkness, for healing and hope. 

Long ago, Irish farm families would clean and whitewash every building on the farm in December. The buildings were covered with white paint or lime wash to symbolically purify them for the coming of the Saviour. 

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Hope: When You Can’t See the Road Ahead

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I like to get lost. I enjoy it. 

I like to find another way. I want to see the surprising view, the hidden vista. 

I want to feel clever when my directional acumen (that’s a real thing – and I have it) lands me in the right neighbourhood again.   

I welcome the unknown road. I welcome the bend that reveals a new landscape. 

It brings me joy. It is like a deep sigh.

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Hope: Hearing God’s Voice

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“In the darkness something was happening at last.

A voice had begun to sing… 

There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond

comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so

beautiful he could hardly bear it.”

from The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

Two weeks ago I was asked to spend some time “reflecting on my life’s journey”.  I was given some ideas of how to structure this, but the impression that I kept coming back to was the description of the creation of Narnia as told by Lewis in The Magician’s Nephew.  

Aslan sings and calls the animals from the ground, and breathing on them, he gives them voices and intelligence of their own. His tune calls the flowers from the ground and the chorus of the stars joins in his song.

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Hope: I Will Yet Praise You

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Psalm 42:1-5

As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, my God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food day and night,

while people say to me all day long,

“Where is your God?”

 

These things I remember as I pour out my soul:

how I used to go to the house of God

under the protection of the Mighty One

with shouts of joy and praise

among the festive throng.

 

Why, my soul, are you downcast?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him,

my Saviour and my God.

Psalm 42 and 43 were probably once all one psalm. They were written by a Levite, a “son of Korah”, one who led worship for the people of Israel.

The author finds himself in exile among the Gentiles (43:1).  They oppress him, mock and taunt him for his faith (42:3, 10; 43:2). It seems like it will always be like this. Read the rest of this entry