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 this 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 >
Make your ways known to me, Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth— teach it to me— because you are the God who saves me. I put my hope in you all day long. Lord, remember your compassion and faithful love— they are forever! But don’t remember the sins of my youth or my wrongdoing. Remember me only according to your faithful love for the sake of your goodness, Lord.
Psalm 25:4-7next >
Sometimes signs point me in a way that I am not expecting. Hope leads me, but I find myself on a different part of the path. Perhaps it’s full of brambles and bushes, the light is dimmer, and it feels lonely and isolated.
Often, the images of Advent and Lent mingle together for me. The road to Bethlehem can take us by Jerusalem, too. I hold in tension those realities of death and life. For hope to have its power, God’s traumatic and dramatic entrance into the world means both death and life. For me, I hear the constant call to repentance as I prepare for God’s entrance during this season. It is a way to be mindful of God’s mercy and steadfast love, even as I pray with the psalmist, asking God to help me be mindful of that beautiful salvation.
This is Advent. It is about both repentance and gratitude, darkness and light, despair and hope.
Mihee Kim-Kortnext >
God, thank you for the space to breathe in your hope, and to enter into the season of Advent where the church is called to anticipate your presence. Give me humility and confident expectation to love and follow you. 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