Today's pictures are of my Grandma Rivard, taken last week during our family's Thanksgiving celebration.
On Sunday we gathered together to light the first candle of Advent and to reflect on the first of our four Advent themes. Our first theme is 'hope' and I can't think of any better way to begin this season of preparation. On this third day of the first week of Advent, I'm thinking about how hope has been creeping into my life this past year.
A year ago, I looked out my window and wondered: With so much suffering in the world, with so much of our humanity left unexpressed, with so much drudgery and decay all around me - how am I supposed to meet the world? How do I resolve this impossible paradox of a world that is so full of beauty and so full of pain? What is my role in this world? How am I supposed to be?
A year later, I have discovered a new way of answering that question: I meet the world with hope. The hope of redemption through Christ, the hope of healing, the hope of new life in the New Creation - new life for the whole world. Everything looks differently through the lens of this new hope, including my family's nativity scene that we set up every year.
Those little porcelain people have been in my life for a very long time. Every year they come upstairs and huddle around the baby Jesus for four short weeks of the year. This year was different, though. This year, I huddled with them. As I arranged them into a tight little circle in the little wooden shed where they live, I huddled into that circle with them. I stepped into the circle and listened to the whisper being passed around, the whisper that's been going around for 2000 years, the whisper that promises: there is Hope in the world.