Advent is a time of expectation and hope. We use the symbol of the Nativity to help us prepare for the coming of the Christ Child. I see great value in setting up the nativity scene at the beginning of Advent because it helps us focus on what is to come. There will be a child born anew in our hearts and anew in our souls. This is a child that brings light and hope into the darkness of our lives and of the season of winter.
A friend of mine heard the author Ann Lamott speak and do a reading from her book Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair.
“Every time we choose the good action or response, the descent, the valuable, it builds, incrementally, to renewal, resurrection, the place of newness, freedom, justice. The equation is: life, death, resurrection, hope. The horror is real, and so you make casseroles for your neighbor, organize an overseas clothing drive, and do your laundry. You can also offer to do other people's laundry, if they have recently had any random babies or surgeries.
We live stitch by stitch, when were lucky. If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching. And maybe the stitching is crude, or is unraveling, but if it was precise, we’d pretend that life is just fine and running like a Swiss watch. This is not helpful if on the inside our understanding is that life is more often the cuckoo clock with rusty gears.
My pastor, Veronica, one Sunday told the story of a sparrow lying in the street with its legs straight up in the air, sweating a little under its feathery arms. A warhorse walks up to the bird and asks, 'What on earth are you doing?' The sparrow replies, 'I heard the sky was falling, and I wanted to help.' The horse laughs a big, loud, sneering horse laugh, and says, 'do you really think you are going to hold back the sky, with those scrawny little legs?'
And the sparrow says, 'One does what one can.'"
Advent is a season to focus on the “Hope” provided in the birth of the Christ and it’s an opportunity for you to bring hope into other people’s lives. What stitches can you sew into the fabric of your life that will give birth to hope in our world?
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