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Hopes and Fears

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It has been a hard year. Sharing a cup of coffee with old friends feels good today, now that Christmas is almost upon us. Feel free to go get yours. I’ll wait.

While it is daunting to reimagine all that goes into preparing and creating Christmas this year, it has always been so. But perhaps this year, more than others in recent memory, we have needed Advent, not because our world circumstances feel so foreign, but because we are beginning to see ourselves as strangers in a strange land. We are becoming a people without hope or purpose. We are not alone, but in a familiar place for God’s people.

Photo courtesy of Mike Riess, IBOC.

We mourn for all that we did not know we were about to lose last Advent season, and what we will not get back for at least a while longer. We ache to return to traditions, gatherings, and activities that mark Advent and Christmas Eve the way we remember them, not in truncated form.

Throughout history, God’s people have known both disruption and destruction of their lives, their homes, and their lands. They have seen their hopes crushed, their dreams deferred and shattered, and their sadness well up as seemingly never-ending sorrow. They have known paralyzing fear.

We are not alone, but in a familiar place for God’s people because we are God’s people at this time and place. And, we are called once again to light candles and pray, “Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”

Photo courtesy of Mike Riess, IBOC.

Our whole world is encompassed by a pandemic, something we haven’t faced in over one hundred years. My grandparents survived that, coupled with World War I, along with many of your relatives. And so, it is important to remember that life continues; God remains steadfast in our hopes for more than what we are facing now, even as we fear what may happen next. God is with us.

“Come, Thou long-expected Jesus born to set Thy people free,
From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne.”

About the Author

Photo of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

Photo courtesy of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.

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