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ADVENT – #1 Hope

December 9, 2013

Four candles, unlit and unnoticed, wait expectantly on the altar. They anticipate the birth of the Savior. The first candle to be lit is the candle of Han eternal hope.

Surely, in those years before the birth of Jesus, Israelites hoped for rescue  from the brutal tyranny of the Romans. God had promised them a King who would rule forever. Impatiently they waited; but would they recognize the King when he came?

What is hope? Is it that “thing with feathers” or “an eternal enrichment of the human heart”? An expectation? A desire? A longing? A dream? Or all of these, molded into a wax candle that illuminates our dreams?

Hope springs eternal in the human breast.

Man never is, but always to be blessed.

The soul, uneasy and confined from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

-Alexander Pope- An Essay on Man                    

A little boy looked into Hope’s large dark eyes, and blinked behind his dark rimmed glasses. Hope looked back, but did not blink. She sat quietly, waiting and the boy reached out to pet her behind her long brown ears. If Hope could smile, she would. Instead she uttered a small moan of satisfaction, and wagged her tail, thumping it on the dining room carpet, exuberant in the connection between them.

The boy’s mother called from the kitchen, “Jackie, what are you doing?” She wiped the counter and carefully folded the dish-towel, hanging it neatly amid two other towels on the rack. “Don’t go into the living room,” she cautioned her little son.

“I know, Mama,” he replied, as he looked mournfully across the open doorway to the coffee table on which a dish of individually wrapped candy had been placed. “I won’t.”

The playful puppy yipped again and put his paw for a pawshake, which the boy recognized as a request for play. He accepted the invitation, glad for the wrestling and rolling as they played together.

“Jackie,” his mother called, “stop that. You’re getting Hope all excited.”

Jackie, lying face down on the carpet, put his hand out to quiet his pet. Hope spread out next to him, brown fur quivering in this quiet moment. Then Hope got up, pelted into the living room, grabbed a candy and returned.

“What are you doing, Hope?” whispered the boy, as Hope dropped the candy in front of him. Jackie sat up quickly and smiled. “Good doggy.” He rewarded Hope with a quick pat behind his ears as he unwrapped the cellophane, stuffed it in his pocket, and slid the caramel candy in his mouth. “Thanks Hope. Let’s go outside.”

Hope, something desired but not really expected — a serendipity dropped from above, not a reward, an expression of love.

Hope, the thing with feathers

That  perches in the soul

And sings a tune with out the words

And never stops at all.

-Emily Dickinson-                                  

Hope plays the sweetest music.

Hope sings a cheerful song.

Hope clothes the warrior

With battle garment strong.

And when victory seems afar,

Hope keeps us moving on. (Patricia)

We light the Advent candle of hope and wait.

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