MUSINGS FROM MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS-ADVENT 1
Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
But the world is more often refuge
than evidence, comfort and covert
for the flinching will, rather than the sharp
particulate instants through which God's being burns
into ours. I say God and mean more
than the bright abyss that opens in that word.
Excerpt from Christian Wiman’s poem 2047 Grace Street
Faith and hope walk together in my mind and heart. While I am not very optimistic about the future in general, my faith helps “makes sense” of life in the midst of uncertainty. Hope for me is both a trust in the good God will do for us individually and the promise of what J Christian Beker called “the coming triumph of God” for all of creation.
Wiman’s poem was written shortly after receiving a cancer diagnosis. The line that the world “is more often refuge that evidence” is reminiscent of Hebrews 11:1- “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The gift of Advent is that God offers us a refuge of hope during both the struggle and tedium of life. The first two chapters of Luke, which we will be focusing on during Advent and Christmastide, feature amazing statements of faith by Mary, Zechariah, and Simeon. These “songs” proclaim light over against the darkness and hope in the face of despair. The “bright abyss” of the silent God speaks a new word, to fulfill an old promise.
This Sunday is Advent 1, the first day of the Christian new year. It is an opportunity for all of us to be renewed by the hope and presence of God in our midst. It is also the beginning of a four-week pilgrimage of the heart to Bethlehem. This journey calls us to leave behind the things that have robbed us of hope, peace, joy, and love. And you are the only gift God desires that you bring to the Christ child born anew in all who seek him.