First Sunday of Advent, Lighting of the Prophecy Candle which symbolizes hope.
We live in a death-defying age. We’ve found ways to push death back with our emphasis on safety and healthy living. We restrict it to days of loss. We only talk about it for a few moments at a time. We’ve even found ways to profit from that fear. There is a cell phone app designed to periodically remind people that one day they will die. Perhaps instead we are a death denying age, always trying to numb the sting.
All individual histories will end, regardless of whether we’re there when all history ends. There are many things we can point to, signs of the end, but God has not left us orphans. There are also signs that God is constantly working. Ms. Rebecca Thornton likes to talk about “Godwinks” (see the series by Squire Rushnell) which are things that remind us that He’s still at work. These winks are our hope, our signs. Every day, like waves on the shore, God winks, telling us, I am still redeeming, I am still bringing life in the midst of all this death. God surprises us with hope (see NT Wright, Surprised by Hope).
1 Peter 3:15 asks us to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks the reason for our hope. We must remember people who have given us hope and always ask ourselves what we can do to give it to others. How can you surprise someone with hope? It can be as simple as a text, a call, a note; any reminder that today is not all there is.
Stand up and lift up your heads. Your redemption is near.—Luke 21:28
Rev. John Norman; Sermon 1 of Advent Series, December 2, 2018
For more inspiration, consider Rev. Don Follis' article 10 Great Ways to Give People Hope.