Waiting on the Hope of Christmas
This article is part of a series on The Peace Prayer of St. Francis. You can read other entries here:
- Where There is Hatred, Let Me Sow Love
- An Instrument of Peace
- Where There is Doubt, Let Me Sow Faith
- Where There is Darkness, Let Me Sow Light
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23, NIV
Family members of mine recently adopted a son from India. On a Saturday night they pull into their driveway, after almost a month of being away. Their new little one fast asleep, his head resting on his mother’s shoulder as she carries him into the house. His dad whispering his name to stir him awake, “You’re home now!” And his tired eyes begin to blink open. They carry him to his new room which they worked so hard to prepare before leaving. A wooden sign hangs on the wall, his name etched in beautiful cursive. A colourful quilt made by his mom stretches over his bed. A shelf full of books, puzzles and toys leans against the wall. He jumps to the floor, suddenly full of life, grabbing a ball from the bottom shelf and squealing in delight.
This has been exactly the joyous celebration we’ve all needed in this time of pandemic uncertainty and unrest. While the world seems to be in chaos in so many ways, we had this incredible thing to rejoice in. Something that went right, that made our hearts beat with life and our eyes fill with the happiest of tears.
As I watched the moments unfold I thought This is it, this is hope!
This couple had started the adoption process three years ago. They endured so many setbacks through it all. Not to mention a global pandemic that made all of their plans all the more uncertain. When would they ever get their son?
And yet they persisted. In hope.
We are in the season of advent, a time for waiting. Christ has come, but we wait for him to come again. We wait for the new things he will do, in our hearts, in our families and loved ones, in our aching world. But the waiting does not have to be in vain. This is a time for us to prepare our hearts for change. The waiting helps our souls to grow still.
For as we wait patiently, as our hearts become like silent nights, then God has a space to be born in us anew.
We await Christ with the hope of encountering him.
I’m sure these family members of mine had their moments of despair. And when the pandemic shut down flights and borders, they had every reason to give up. But instead they held on to hope. That dream they had inside of them, of one day meeting their son face to face, that burning flame of desire helped them to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
And finally, on a Tuesday morning in India, the sun rising orange in a hazy sky, they drive to an orphanage in town, walk into the living room, and there he is. Their beautiful boy, the one they had waited so long for. They pick him up, arms flung around arms they hold each other close. “Mama! Papa!” he smiles.
Where there is despair, let me sow hope.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in Dying that we are
born to eternal life.