Today is the first Sunday of Advent marking the beginning of Christmastime. We are invited into this season to recognize the change that is coming, while patiently accepting the tension that exists within the waiting season as we anticipate change to arrive. This first week of Advent is defined by hope. 

I’ve known hope so big that it practically overflows from my heart like a tidal wave.  I’ve also known hope so tiny that I cannot bear to share it with anyone lest the exposure snuffs out what little hope I still possess. In these extremes of the inner landscape of my soul—and all the middle places between—hope has lived and grown.  

Hope is tenacious and wild and reckless and powerful. Hope is like oxygen; we need it to live. It keeps us alive both in the valley and the mountaintops of our journey, willing us forward into our stories and deeper into our faith. Hope springs forth in the most unlikely places of loss and ruble, promising us a new life. Hope is a light unto our path. 

Walter Brueggemann writes, “The whole tenor of Advent is that God may act in us, through us, beyond us, more than we imagined because newness is on its way among us.”

May we dare to embrace the hope for newness in this season.  May we dare to stop our busyness, our preparations, our agendas, and our satiation to look for the newness of what’s next to break in and transform our existence. May we dare to behold the true wonder of Christmas in our midst. Amen.