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1st Week of Advent: Prophesy & the Hope Candle

1st Week of Advent: Prophesy & the Hope Candle

Hope. Promise. Ahh…I love these words! Though during this time of year they often fall victim to the word-refuse of over use, yet true under-expression. Hope and Promise are pregnant with expectation and goodness. Like my sister ready to deliver her second baby in a few weeks—or any day now. Like my children watching the grey skies from our front living room windows wondering if they will burst open with whatever is necessary to cancel school.
Hope. Promise.
Really, they are words of holiness.
On the giant arc of time, these two words are ones by which I often stake my life. But only when I live with them as verbs do they have any real consequence—for me personally, yes. But also in eternity.
This week we enter into another season of advent. We light a candle. We listen to carols on the radio. Maybe we even blow the dust off our devotionals (or our Bibles) and commit to preparing our hearts as much as we prepare our homes.
But will we make Hope a verb? Will be bow our heads daily and Promise to adjust our way of looking? Begin with a change? And be willing to live accordingly?
A way of looking. Begin with a change. These are not my words. I discovered them at the end of a poem by Marci Johnson…

Marci Johnson

            John 1:14

How can word
Become flesh?
Belly. Bone.
Tongue—the feel
In the mouth a word
Rolling around. Word,
not a kiss not the thing
itself—a name. The arch
of a foot. Your face
in my hands, just
a name. Blue sky lolling
beyond the window
frame—eyes open.
Just a way of looking.
Begin with a change.

Just a way of looking. Begin with a change.
This morning I was reading this very poem in Light Upon Light (an Advent, Christmas, Epiphany prayer guide using beautiful poetry and literature—I highly recommend it). Here I am—a hand-raising, hallelujah, I believe! Believer—and this morning I realized I needed to begin with a change. I need the power of Hope and Promise—the Incarnation—in my soul to adjust my way of looking. Today. Now.
I have some people in my life whom I love dearly, who are hurting deeply. What is harder to bear is watching them hurt without the Word become flesh. Without Hope. Without Promise. But here’s the thing: God, in his typical God-way, has surrounded them with people who do have Hope! Who live with the Promise! The question is, will we, who know Hope and Promise, make them more than pretty words with which we decorate our mantles and our trees?
Will we be the verbs?
This Christmas. This Advent. Now.
Because it really does matter for eternity.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.                           –1 Corinthians 4:6-7