Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are now entering into the season of Advent as we prepare for Christmas. For some the next few weeks becomes a frenzy of excitement as they prepare for giving gifts and hosting parties; however, Advent is also about slowing down and remembering why we do what we do.
Growing up our church always had the advent candles. Each week a different individual or family would do the reading and light the candle. There was always something special about the lighting the candles. While today we may or may not light the candles in church we can take from the tradition and apply it to more than some candles in the church. We can take the heart of the tradition into out lives.
Today is the day we light the first candle. The first candle is called the “Prophet’s Candle” and symbolizes hope. Hope of a people who had been waiting for centuries for the messiah to come. Hope that the rescuer would come and rescue them.
I think about how difficult this season is for those who have lost hope. For those waiting for a prodigal son or daughter to return home, for those that feel like they will never be able to make it, for those struggling through the holidays thinking about those they have lost. Today I think about and pray for those in need of hope. In clinical practice I often have clients that can’t see the end of their depression or that they will ever get better. They can’t hold on to hope, so I often tell them I will hold on to the hope for them. I will remind them that things will get better and I will have the hope that they may not be able to hold in that moment. When they are ready I will remind them of the hope I have been holding and restore it back to them. I am always ready to pick it back up and hold on to the hope and walk with them through the valley when they need. I am also always ready to return their hope when they begin to see the end of the valley again.
In my work I find that sometimes people feel as though they do not deserve to have hope because they are where they are because of their actions. However, I remind them that no matter what they did, they still get to have hope. They still are someone that can be rescued, even from their own pit that they dug.
Hope speaks to the soul. Hope brings back the dead to life. Hope is sometimes all we have.
Who do we know that needs this hope in this season? Hope that things will get better, hope that the healing will come, hope that they can move through the grief that rampages their soul. Let us use this week to bring hope to those who have lost theirs.