Last night, while munching on the bread that had just come out of the oven, and smelling the granola that had just gone in the oven, Chris & I read through some advent devotions. This first Advent Sunday we joined millions of other followers of Christ as we lit the candle of Hope, the first in the advent wreath.
I admit, I was kind of anticipating warm fuzzies as we contemplated our readings on Hope-- what with the insane baking smells wafting through the house, and the romantic glow of the newly decorated full-sized Christmas tree (not the tiny 2ft apartment tree we've had propped on a table for the last 6yrs!!!). But as we read through the verses marked out in our advent devotion, the warm fuzzies didn't come.
Two of the verses were accounts of Mary & Joseph being told that they were about to become the parents of a King who would reign forever and would take away the sins of his people. Big stuff. Lots to hope for.
But then, Mary has to travel 9mos pregnant by donkey, and just happens to go into labor at the worst possible time, when there is no where to go and one to help. I can remember the exhaustion after labor, the desperate need for help from family & friends, the fear & stress & sleeplessness. My biggest hope was to get through that phase of life. But, if we read ahead, we know that Mary & Joseph also faced the fear of a mass-murderer trying to kill their baby. They were forced into exile in Egypt, and sometime between Jesus' 13th birthday and his public ministry, it's believed that Joseph died.
All those hopes, all that anticipation of what it would mean to usher in the King & Savior of Israel, and I'm sure none of it turned out the way they thought it would. It would seem that their hopes were placed in something beyond their own comfort-- which is not often where I can find my own hopes lying.
It made me want to dig in a little deeper and ask myself where I truly place my hopes, and if maybe my hopes are a little too small.
Here are links to two of the Advent Readings on Hope. I would love to hear your thoughts, as well.