We are now in a very special time of year … the season of Advent.
Advent begins four Sundays before Dec. 24 each year, and for us liturgical types, it begins the church year, hence the name Advent, which means “beginning” or “coming.”
In Advent, we wait with longing for the arrival of the Christ child. We know that this glorious day is coming, but it has not yet arrived. We wait and we are nourished with the hope of what is to come but is not here yet.
As the days become shorter and the nights become longer, we wait for the Light of the World. Our culture and the marketing of it leaves little space for waiting. It’s a minute-to-win-it existence where the possibilities of getting the items one wants quickly are endless. If we need groceries, household items or even gifts for beloved ones, we can have them sent to our doorsteps within a few days. But if we lose the practice of waiting, do we also lose a critical understanding of what it means to hope for something that is not here yet?
We see in Luke’s gospel a sense of waiting for better times to come: “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” It can be vulnerable to hope for something … what if it doesn’t come to pass? Some folks choose to keep their expectations low and not hope for big things so that they can avoid disappointment. That is definitely a fair way to approach life. But, the truth is, hope is critical to living abundantly.
Hope does something important to keep space in our hearts for vulnerability with God, with others and with ourselves. And having that kind of space, keeps our hearts open to live abundantly.
Jesus said in John 10:10: “A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” Hope is too precious a thing, too necessary, too powerful to let slip through your fingers.
Use this time of Advent to sit, wait, and become friends with what it means to hope again. The light is coming, but it is not here yet.
The Reverend Kate Fields is a native of Wilson County and an alumna of Cumberland University. She currently pastors at Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville. “Worship Wilson” is a weekly column written by clergy and people of faith in Wilson County.