Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 12, Hope

Please let me know the artist behind this photograph so I may give proper credit.

Please let me know the artist behind this photograph so I may give proper credit.

The thought behind the photo:
Hope opens something in the human heart. Like shutters slowly parting to admit a winter dawn, hope permits strands of light to make their way to us, even when we still stand in cold darkness; but hope also reveals a landscape beyond us into which we can live and move and have our being. With hope, closely held interior thoughts are gently turned outward; deep desires, perhaps long hidden in secret corners of our heart, might be lifted up to the light. At times, hope peels back the edges of our imagination to free what waits underneath — a changed life, a new resolve, a yes pregnant with possibility. In other moments hope dares us to unfold a layer of desire — for relationship, for clarity, for courage. – Pamela C. Hawkins, Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent

Excerpt from Enlarge our Hopes by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Anna and Simeon see
what others don’t; they are looking
for something larger.

O Patient One, you have changed
what we are waiting for,
and how.

Enlarge our hopes and our horizons;
give us both the courage of deeper longings
and the peace of deeper trust.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 71:1-5 NRSV
In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me. Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel. For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.

The December 12, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com 
SCRIPTURE:  Romans 15:13 CEB
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hope is oozing in this one verse. What is it, anyway? Emily Dickinson called it,

the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Sometimes it’s confused with luck, or with chance. It’s that last thing you want in your pocket when all your other plans don’t pan out. But Paul, the author of this letter, offers another meaning: trust.

“Everything was written in former days was written for our instruction…” says Paul, so that “we might have hope.”

The familiar hymn, O, Little Town of Bethlehem, has a line that goes, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” It gives us a glimpse of this hope that people of faith have held and renewed each time we remember God becoming flesh among us in that stable in Bethlehem so long ago.

May you hold in your heart the kind of hope that that is grounded in the promises of God, as revealed in Christ and spread through each one of us.

**********
Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.

Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.

Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><

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