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Advent: A Season of Hope – A Message from Our Bishop

December 13, 2012

advent hope

There is a parable told of a man whose neighbour found him on his hands and knees, searching the ground. The neighbour asked, “What are you looking for?” “My key” replied the man. So the neighbour got down on his hands and knees to help. After several minutes with no results the neighbour asked, “Where were you when you lost it?” “In my house,” came the answer. “Why are we looking for it out here then?” the neighbour asked. The man replied, “Because it’s brighter out here.”

I find the story delightful for two reasons. The first is its simple humour; the second is the broad extent to which the story is a parable of human activity. In our search for security, meaning, peace, serenity, and other deep needs of human life, we tend to go looking in the places where it’s easy to look, rather than in the places where we are likely to find them. We get attracted to bright, flashy, simplistic solutions and fail to look at the dimmer, often hidden, and more complex realities which are the fabric of human life. We look to ourselves, when our hope lies with God.

Christian hope is a rich and many-textured thing. Hope is grounded in the past, with the stories of creation, fall and redemption, in which God responds to our rebellion and wilful disobedience by choosing to pursue us through prophets, kings and sages – even to the point of death – until we are restored to life. Hope is shot through with faith, as we learn through that story to trust the one who will not ever give up on our broken humanity. Hope is fired by love as we see revealed the compassionate heart of God and God’s desire for union with us through the binding of the Holy Spirit. Hope dwells firmly in the present as we lay the veils and barriers of worry and concern in the hands of the one who alone can resolve them. Hope stands on the truth of God’s justice and waits with patience for its fulfillment in God’s good time. Hope makes future present as the assurance of God’s coming reign is realized in our Lord Jesus Christ who stands with us in each moment of our days. Hope is an overwhelmingly generous gift that God plants in our hearts as we turn to him to be refashioned into the image of Christ.

GK-W3fAdvent is a season of hope. It is a season where the story of our past and our yearning for the fulfillment of all things, finds its answer in the enfleshing of God in the miracle of the Christ child.

In this Advent season, when the days darken into the depths of winter, we are called through a renewed commitment to prayer and study, and through action which bears witness to God’s reign of justice, to place our hope in the One who is more certain than the sun’s returning light in springtime.

May you have a holy Advent and a blessed Christmas.

(This Advent Message by Bishop Greg is taken from the December issue of The Sower:  http://www.calgary.anglican.ca/Sower/2012/sower1212.pdf.)

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Embedded below is a video of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Rejoice! the Lord is King,” which has the following lyrics that express the hope about which our Bishop speaks in his message:

Rejoice the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore!
Rejoice, give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore.

Refrain:
Lift up your heart!

lift up your voice!
Rejoice! again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Saviour reigns, the God of truth and love:
when he had purged our stains, he took his seat above. Refrain

His kingdom cannot fail; he rules o’er earth and heaven;
the keys of death and hell are to our Jesus given. Refrain

Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come
and take his servants up to their eternal home:
We soon shall hear  the archangel’s voice,
the trump of God shall sound: rejoice!

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