The power of hope is made more palpable by the fragile circumstances of everyday life. A cancer diagnosis. The loss of job and home. A fight with friends or family. The rejection from a college. A divorce. The death of a loved one.
But, often hope comes in small doses and flickering images. Signs that are fleeting and brief, and usually seem insignificant. Advent is a season in which we can cultivate a posture of waiting and watching with hope. It is hope that anchors us – it nourishes us, it sustains us, it keeps our eyes up.next >
The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill my gracious promise with the people of Israel and Judah. In those days and at that time, I will raise up a righteous branch from David’s line, who will do what is just and right in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is what he will be called: The Lord Is Our Righteousness.
Jeremiah 33:14-16next >
My favorite season is fall. I love the sky, I love the crisp air, and the electricity in the air. I’m taken by the strange reality that the most beautiful trees are the ones in the midst of shedding their leaves – in a way, they are the ones that are dying. Spring speaks to me in a similar way. After a long, gray winter, seeing the first crocuses push through that desolate soil is like a veil finally being pulled back. Both sit at the precipice of life and death, and they each speak to a different experience of hope.
So the image of the branch of David springing up for the people – though a small sign, it is a tangible expression of the promise, prefaced with the words “the days are surely coming.” Sometimes that’s all we need to remember that God is with us in the midst of it all, in both the experiences of life and death, and that God will provide days where we will see and feel that salvation even more.
Mihee Kim-Kortnext >
God, sometimes all I need is a small sign that you are near to give me the strength to get through the next hour, the next day, the next season. Help me to feel your hope, and to trust in your continuous presence. Amen.next >
In The Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan says:
“First, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning... Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.”
C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, 1953
Mihee Kim-Kort is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She is spouse to a Presbyterian minister, mother to three amazing children, director of a UKIRK campus ministry at Indiana University. She is also a freelance writer and author of numerous blogs, articles, and books. Her website is www.miheekimkort.com.
Advent Waiting: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence/Wondrous Love