I don't often read Angie Smith's blog, Bring the Rain. But I went there this week to get the link to String of Pearls for a friend who just suffered the loss of her baby on Thanksgiving Day. When I read the title of her latest post "Permission to Hope", it really settled into my bones. I thought it was so fitting for Advent. This is not why Angie titled her post, it had nothing to do with Advent, but that's what it made me think of. And then today I was talking to one of my dear friends and she read a passage to me that said as Christians, Advent is a time when we HOPE for "the invasion of holiness." Let that settle into your bones for a moment. Think of what an INVASION looks like. For me, it brings to mind someone storming into my home, an army overtaking a city and taking control, ants moving into my house in the thousands! That is an invasion in my imagination. I can be excited to wait for, to hope for even, an INVASION of HOLINESS! Ummmm, just imagine it! Angels storming the city. Legions of saints overthrowing the darkness and triumphing over all the accepted evils we fight against every day! Imagine witnessing the glowing heavenly hosts running in, swords drawn, and seating "holiness" in a reign of power!
Webster defines hope this way:
hope is a feeling that what is wanted will happen; desire accompanied by expectation! A reason for hope. A person or thing on which one may base hope, reliance, to EXPECT! YES! YES! YES! Isn't that Jesus!?!?!?! An EXPECTATION that some day, this vision will be realized and holiness will prevail? All will be set right?
All day this theme of hope has been running through my head. I think little Hope Hollis is hope personified. Talk about permission to hope, a reason to hope! And also, isn't Advent a reason to hope? A season to look forward with expectation that what we wait for (hope for) as Christians will SURELY come to pass! A day when there will be no more orphans, a day when widows will not be lonely, a day when all will walk, all will laugh, all will love, and all will have peace.
So... for the month of December, I have decided to focus on JOY and HOPE! I want to embrace the true spirit of Advent, for my family, for my children in particular, and for myself. I can't forget that there are bone deep pains out there that stir me to the core (orphans, poverty, hunger), but for this season of preparing for the birth of our SAVIOR, I have permission to hope, permission to rejoice. Permission to know that though these things are a reality on this fallen earth, where darkness rules, my LORD already overcame all of this and we wait in JOYFUL hope for the coming of our Savior. It's an anticipation that what we wait for WILL happen. And it will be an absolute INVASION of holiness like no one can imagine!
And since I'm turning a significant number (ending in zero) this month, I think a big dose of hope is just what the doctor ordered.... hope I don't croak, hope I don't get any more cellulite, hope I can keep the next size pants at bay... hope my kids don't kill me... hope my hairdresser doesn't leave town (cause after 15 years with him, he's known me as long as Brian, and I need them both more than ever)... hope gravity will lose it's affect on me.... well, let's just say there's LOTS to hope for. You get the point! :)
"I'm not abandoned. The Father is with me. I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."