Do you ever wonder why a sappy news story about a local hero or the unexpected good fortune of a person in need will bring tears to your eyes? People have even been known to cry at commercials and certainly to shed a tear or two during movies like It’s A Wonderful Life. Just what is it that makes grown men and women choke back tears that catch us by surprise and call upon us to reach for the Kleenex – albeit discreetly?
As human beings, we long for better times. We are touched by kindnesses or outcomes that point towards that possibility. Advent fleshes out that sense of hope – of God’s promise of a kingdom, a world where loving kindness, justice, and peace prevail. Advent is about embracing the sturdiness of God’s promise, despite those who would tell us that a vision of a time when love, mercy, and forgiveness are a reality is foolishness. Those tears in the darkness of the movie theater, in the privacy of our home, and in response to unexpected kindness are the incarnation, the enfleshment of that hope. Tears are the silent witness to the hope that dwells within us. They are protest in defiance of those who would have us believe all things are not possible.
Oftentimes our living becomes clouded by the problems or challenge of getting through another hectic day. The sheer complexity of our schedules consumes our energy, to say nothing of the task of meeting the expectations of family and friends. Before we know where we are, the chaos of minds has no time for the still place deep in our hearts where reside our hopes and dreams.
Spend some time this Advent season recovering those hopes of your heart - for where hope is God is also. As you walk the dog or fill the dishwasher, wait in line or lie awake in pre-dawn darkness still the rush of thoughts and the shopping list of tasks to be completed. Pause to listen to your heart and rediscover the hope that gives us life. It is hope that gets us out of bed in the morning, hope that pulls us through the struggles of each day, and hope that allows us to lie down in peace.
Hope is a graceful gift from the God who loves us. God knows all about hope – God has been hopeful about us for thousands of years. Hopeful we will remember the promise that love makes God’s kingdom real. Hopeful we will remember the kingdom is truly “at hand.” Hopeful we will remember at last that it is love that wipes away our secret tears.
“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
The Rev. Susan N. Eaves