advent 20 sample (from the last series)

// 8 - waiting, wishing, hoping

What are you waiting for? Advent is about waiting, so it's a timely question to ask. But there are different ways we can approach the task, and in particular, there's a difference between wishful and hopeful waiting.

Most of the things we wish for seem to involve wanting to escape our present situation, perhaps as if by magic. I wish I had more money. I wish my relationship was better. I wish I was somewhere else right now...

Wishing doesn't change anything, but it does, unhelpfully, lead us away from the present moment; constantly pulling us forward into a make-believe future where everything is all right again, or back into a past that was seemingly so much better. Which means we struggle to be fully here for long.

Hope, on the other hand, brings poise to this present moment, whatever our circumstances - and helps us to be more alive to the possibilities and the potential of where we are now. Or just more alive, full stop. We have the option: we can wish our days were lighter; or we can seek (and demonstrate) hope within the darkness.

In Psalm 65, David writes, "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; for my hope comes from him." Whether we're winning or losing, ahead or behind, happy or sad, in darkness, light, or the myriad shades in between, there is always hope to be found in Advent. O come, O come, Emmanuel. For my hope comes... from you.

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Try this! What are you waiting for? And are you wishing or hoping, within the waiting? Write a few things down that you are waiting for, and ask yourself how you might turn wishing into something more hopeful.

Try to notice yourself wishing, today. Each time you do, speak out the words, "O come, O come Emmanuel." You might also like to write "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; for my hope comes from him" on a post-it note, and leave it somewhere to remind you, today, to wait in hope.

Do spend a short while outside in darkness again if you can tonight, and notice the waning of the moon. 

RSVP! What are you waiting for? Let us know! And please do keep your inspiring thoughts coming by replying to this e-mail - before reading everyone else's here. The RSVP page has become a beautiful space for sharing wisdom and experience this Advent. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. If you haven't shared yet, and would like to, we'd love to hear from you.

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May your soul find rest, today.

Go well!