Daily Devotion - Monday, November 30, 2015
This is the first week of the season of Advent. Throughout the season of Advent we'll be focusing on what it means to be full of expectation and anticipation during this blessed time of year. We'll also be lifting up the various weekly themes of Advent, corresponding to the lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath. This week our theme is "Hope."
"Hope is being able to see there is light despite of all of the darkness." - Bishop Desmond Tutu
I love the above quote from Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. His tireless, selfless work to free South Africa from the evil of Apartheid is a testament to his hope. In fact, I think we would be hard pressed to find someone in the world who could speak more confidently of the power of hope.
It was Tutu's work after Apartheid ended, however, that actually inspires me even more. As the chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Tutu spearheaded efforts to help black and white South Africans come to terms with their troubled past, and find ways to move forward in unity.
There were times when lesser men would have given up. The anger, hatred and distrust between many South Africans seemed insurmountable. But Tutu has never lost hope in the power of forgiveness, and the healing, reconciling power of the Holy Spirit of Christ in God.
Hope is powerful. It can burn within us, giving us the energy and the will to keep moving forward when everything around us seems to be saying "Turn back!" When hope is lost, however, we can become stymied, stagnant and stuck.
It's no small thing that the first candle we light in the Advent wreath this week is the Candle of Hope. It is the reminder that the story of Christ's birth (the moment when God took on human form and became one of us in order to save all of us) begins with the gift of hope to the hopeless.
The arrival of Jesus is the penultimate moment in the Biblical narrative--the most vivid example of God's never-ending, never-failing love for His children and His Creation. Through Jesus, we can truly know the very heart, will and mind of God. We can also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the powers of darkness cannot overcome the light--no matter how hard they try.
May you be filled with powerful and transformative hope during this blessed season of Advent. May you continue to seek the light in the midst of the darkness, and know with holy certainty that the One who came to dispel the darkness lives within you, goes before you, and guards the way behind you.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.