Monday, December 1, 2014

A Week of Hope

We had a beautiful service at church yesterday. did it get  here so quickly? 
During Mass, the sermon encompassed an explanation of the Advent wreath that we light the first Advent Sunday and throughout the Christmas season.  I love when I learn new things at church.  (Or maybe I learned this once and promptly forgot it?  Either way, the candle meanings were new to me.)  Here's how Deacon Luis described it.

Candle #1, a purple candle, represents hope.
Hope in the Lord, hope in our lives, hope for Jesus' birth, hope for what we want to birth in His name.

Candle #2, also purple, represents faith.
Faith in God, faith to sustain us, faith in Jesus' coming, faith for the every day mundane.

Candle #3, a pink candle, represents joy.
Does this need an explanation?  I think not.
The only distinction I like to make is that happiness is of this world, but joy is of the Lord.

Candle #4, back to purple, represents peace.
Peace that surpasses all understanding.
Peace in our path.
Peace in our homes.
Peace in our hearts.

The white candle in the center represents Christ.
As it says in the Lorica of St. Patrick, this beautiful Irish prayer I hold so dear...
"I arise today through the strength of Heaven...
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, 
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, 
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, 
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, 
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, 
Christ in the eye that sees me, 
Christ in the ear that hears me."

Every day of the year, not just in December, I know these four gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts I need to embrace more fully.
My project doesn't flourish, and I lose hope.
My family experiences turmoil, and I lose faith.
I experience sickness, and I lose joy.
My checking account wanes, and I lose peace.
DAILY I need these reminders...
the ones that tell me He is not only holding me up, but holding me together.
Reminders that He is in charge even and especially when I think I'm losing control.
Reminders that, if I only let these gifts grow in my spirit, they will take root, multiply and flower all around me.

But in the glorious season of Advent, a time of beautiful, patient waiting...
We are given the gift of a change of season.
A season of Hope.
Of Faith.
Of Joy.
Of Peace.
A season where, if we keep constant our hope and faith, our joy and peace will grow exponentially greater.
A season that exists to keep our eyes focused ever upward.
A season that exists to encourage our restless hearts.

This week, week #1 of the 1st purple candle, I shall focus on hope.
I shall pray for hope.
I shall hope for His coming and His hand in all I do.
I hope you'll join me?

{Can't believe we've reached this season of grace and giving.
What are you hoping for today?
Please comment here on on my FB page.
Thanks for reading.}

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