Between jet lag and a jam packed time away I have felt less than human the past few days! I can handle one or the other but put the two together and I am a little more sluggish than my usual post-time-zone-change self (12 hour time difference to be exact). All of my warm, fuzzy Christmas feelings that normally kick start at the beginning of December, enticing me to a reflective season in the midst of chaos have been somewhat lacking. I did drag out my tiny box of decorations the other night and bought a couple sets of lights for half price. My little apartment now looks appropriately Christmassy but all that does is make me want to close all the blinds, light the candles, turn off all the lights but the Christmas ones, make some tea, put the Christmas music on, and curl up on the couch with a book. It does little to warm my soul.
Lacking my own inspiration I asked Google to find me a daily plan that will get me thinking about more than just the tastefully decorated tree in O’Connell Street (not the horrid florescent ball tree!), the Christmas stalls on Henry Street, and the great Christmas crafts on Pinterest.
After a trip to NZ and the receipt showing how much I just paid the local garage to service my car in preparation for its NCT on Friday, I decided that I wouldn’t splurge on the $1 Advent app that came in as the #1 for this year. I opted for the free one that came in as #2 – Advent Devotions. It is neatly sectioned into weekly themes with a bit to read from the Bible each day, a short message about how it relates to the birth of Christ, and a prayer for today. The past two days ... because I didn’t start on time ... have been themed “Hope”.
How cliché, right?
I shouldn’t even be saying that. Forget the whole bit about faith in Jesus being hinged on hope since the start of Genesis and the need for a curse to be lifted! The entire programme we are running with young leaders at Innovista is about “hope through young leaders”. Hope is our aim! This week a few of them were telling us about their holiday travel plans. According to them, going away is like skipping Christmas here ... and they want to do that! I’d say they aren’t the only ones who would like that. For them Christmas as a holiday has no sense of hope - it holds the opposite.
This morning it really struck me that the celebration of the original intent of Christmas might actually hinge on hope. Hope that life doesn’t have to always be like this. Hope that things can get better. Hope that love, joy, peace, generosity, and altruism are actually possible. I didn’t realise how much I needed an injection of hope to kick start the warm and fuzzy Christmas feelings I was waiting on. I thought I was just going to have inspiration without having to go back to the basics myself. Turns out I was wrong.
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 1 Peter 1:13