I was saddened recently to hear the news that the 125-year-old iconic company, Sears, has filed for bankruptcy. I have fond memories of getting the big “Wish Book” and carefully dog-earing the pages that held my dreams for a merry Christmas. How high my hopes were as I scanned through that magazine ... dolls, doll houses, trains and shiny new bikes with banana seats.
Seldom did my wishes and dreams come together the way I planned, but each year my hopes soared as I anticipated that magazine coming in the mail.
If we could only capture that thrill of waiting and wanting again, what a difference it would make in our season of Advent. The act of waiting is not something that comes easily. We not only have trouble waiting, we even struggle with what we want. We prescribe to God what we think is best for our lives.
“But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24b, 25 (NIV)
The practice of Advent is not a wish list, but a discipline of hope. It is not meant to be looked at as a toy to obtain, but as the bestowing of the Holy Spirit in ways we cannot imagine, through the gift of his Son. It is to be awaited, longed for and anticipated.
It is a symbol of hope when all the certainties of life crumble around us.
What do you hope for this Christmas?
“However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ — the things God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)
Judy Phariss Collins is a hospital chaplain at Texas Health Kaufman and resides in Forney, Texas, with her husband, Scott. They have one adult daughter, Claire, and are active members of The Crossing Baptist Church in Mesquite.