Advent Daily Devotional: Day 7

Sat, Dec 5 – DAY 7

Lighting the candle requires multiple tools and actions. Hands to manipulate the match and candle. Fuel to ignite the spark. Oxygen to feed the flame. All these elements exemplify interconnection and dependency on each other in order to move from potential to reality.

            Hope permits us to seek connection and support. Hope suggests that we are never alone. God is present to us. And we are designed to be in community with others.

            Tangible hope shows up as relationships. Embodied by family, friends, and community. Showing up through family, partners, companions, classmates, collaborators, colleagues, care providers, mentors, peers or acquaintances. Put into practice by churches, schools, workplaces, classrooms, creative spaces, teams, workshops, clubs, charitable organizations, or public agencies.

            Hope invites vulnerability and models strength through these connections. Hope admits that we require help. Says we don’t know all the answers or have enough resources to do it alone. Acknowledges that we belong to each other and need each other. Hope reaches out to offer or opens up to receive support and connection.

— Rev Gail

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I put my hope in your words. — Psalm 119:147

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
Maya Angelou

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. — Nelson Mandela

Advent Daily Devotional: Day 6

Fri, Dec 4 – DAY 6

Hope often involves learning from our experiences. Gaining insight from our past, the hard parts and the good ones, and putting them to use.

            Hope is controlling the one thing we’re able to affect: our own response to whatever has already happened and what is happening now. How will we react? What will we do with what is going on? How will we make meaning from it, and transform it into something that gives us energy, power, and motivation?

            Hope comes from finding the most healing, sustainable, productive, purpose-driven way to name and acknowledge current circumstances. Then to adapt to them as needed. And change them if that is desirable and possible.

And what if we cannot change circumstances, even if its preferable to do so? Sometimes bearing witness is what we can do. By seeing, listening, recognizing a reality, we are remaining present to ourselves and others. That is a form of response, and also a way of cultivating hope. — Rev Gail

Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. — Psalm 130:7

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. — Psalm 31:24

We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming – well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate. — Amy Tan

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. — Victor Frankl

It’s the possibility that keeps me going, not the guarantee. Nicholas Sparks

Advent Day 6: Daily Devotional

Hope often involves learning from our experiences. Gaining insight from our past, the hard parts and the good ones, and putting them to use.

Hope is controlling the one thing we’re able to affect: our own response to whatever has already happened and what is happening now. How will we react? What will we do with what is going on? How will we make meaning from it, and transform it into something that gives us energy, power, and motivation?

Hope comes from finding the most healing, sustainable, productive, purpose-driven way to name and acknowledge current circumstances. Then to adapt to them as needed. And change them if that is desirable and possible.

And what if we cannot change circumstances, even if its preferable to do so? Sometimes bearing witness is what we can do. By seeing, listening, recognizing a reality, we are remaining present to ourselves and others. That is a form of response, and also a way of cultivating hope. — Rev Gail

Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. — Psalm 130:7

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
— Psalm 31:24

We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming – well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.
— Amy Tan

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. — Victor Frankl

It’s the possibility that keeps me going, not the guarantee. Nicholas Sparks

Advent Daily Devotional: Day 5

Thurs, Dec 3 – DAY 5

Hope fosters comfort with stillness and silence, as aspects of not-knowing. In these times, we’re enduring personal pressures and communal, national and global stresses.

Hope supports resilience in a culture that offers round-the-clock data feeds. We give ourselves permission to unplug and turn down the noise. We need this capacity in any era, but certainly in these times, when our culture promotes 24/7 access to information and each other, with exaggerated extremes of emotion and perspective.

What if we slow it all down? Sometimes the constant stimulation provides a false sense of certainty. It also mimics intimacy.

Hope invites us into a time that can be quiet. It allows us to cope with lack of information. It enables us to wait to find out what comes next. It assures us that we will manage, when even when we do not or cannot know the answer.

Hope allows us to stay centered and become comfortable with our own company. We learn to trust ourselves and each other, without external stimulation. We learn to catch our breath, and listen actively to the stillness rather than yearning for noise. And find out that in the stillness, we may come to learn and know more than we expected. — Rev Gail

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” — Psalm 46:10

Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found … Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn. Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story. — Neil Gaiman

If you re-channel those energies into being aware of what is going on in the present moment, you will be able to make a breakthrough and discover joy and peace right in the present moment, inside of yourself and all around you. — Thich Nhat Hahn

The spiritual task of life is to feed hope. Hope is not something to be found outside of us. It lies in the spiritual life we cultivate within. — Joan Chittister

Dum spiro, spero: While I breath, I hope. — Latin proverb

Advent Day 2: Daily Devotional

Perhaps you light the candles in a darkened room or as the sun drops beneath the horizon. The gloaming gathers. You watch the heightened contrast as the flame burns.

In that moment, become aware both of the surrounding twilight and the flickering light. Both light and its opposite — the darkness — are gifts. Each reveals some aspect of our humanity. Each allows vulnerability and calls upon strength. Each nurtures new life.

Within the deep, fecund dormancy of winter, extended sleep precipitates renewal until spring arrives. With every day, sun offers its essential contribution to the cycle of death and rebirth. Hope thrives both in the darkness and the light.  — Rev Gail

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. Psalm 119:114

O hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler turning aside for the night? Jeremiah 14:8

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.— Anne Lamott

Hope is the dream of a soul awake. — French proverb

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