Christmas Eve 2018
I woke at 3 am. It is Christmas Eve. I have time to ponder and write. It is already a good day at 5 am!
Last night, my 17-year-old, Garrett, talked about the “advent”. He is in a Lutheran Handbell choir (so cool!) and gets to learn things beyond music. I had heard about “advent”, but did not know until last night with Garrett’s comment how it is celebrated in some Christian churches by lighting candles on the 4 Sundays preceding Christmas. I wanted to learn more. Google to the rescue again!
There are four virtues celebrated with the lighting of each of the four candles nestled in an evergreen Christmas wreath. The circular wreath and evergreens are to remind us of the never-ending, eternal nature of God and our own lives. The candles represent
Some have a fifth candle to light on Christmas Eve that is called the Christ candle.
The “advent” means the “coming”. My ten-year-old, Mia, has been so excited for and anticipating Christmas this year. A few days ago, in the car she asked, “Mom, aren’t you excited for Christmas?” I responded, “It’s different for adults.” She thoughtfully said, “I can see that. You have to spend so much money.”
This anticipation has its own symbolism. I wrote last Christmas that the births of my children is the closest thing I have experienced to childhood Santa-waiting in adulthood. As the years pass and I see many “signs and wonders” unfold, I am beginning to feel the anticipation of the second advent of the Savior more and more.
And I am understanding more fully the word HOPE.
So, I was pondering that word this morning. HOPE.
To my mind came a choir piece I learned years ago. I wanted to hear it and found a youtube with it. The title is And What Is It We Shall Hope For?
And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
To me, this sums up the advent. Hope. Love. Joy. Peace. Christ.
Last Friday, a dear friend of mine, 91-year-old Mary Lou, left this world. She has been in a care facility for more than 5 years. We visited her regularly. Her quality of life in a “rest home” was depressing, but she continued to nurture hope, love, joy and peace through Christ. If she can do that in those circumstances, I can do it in mine!
I HOPE that you feel His LOVE (and mine) and that JOY and PEACE are part of your everyday experience, no matter what the circumstances of your life are!
And now, for your listening pleasure (if you want)…. two renditions of the song “And What Is It We Shall Hope For?”