For the Church, we are in the liturgical season of Advent, our ‘new’ year. On the four Sundays leading to Christmas, we have four candles that we light one each week. This is such a symbolic act of worship because it reminds us to look for the light of Christ in the midst of the darkness. Because we live on this side of the first Christmas, we know that the ‘Light’ has already come, and we [the Church] shine our light for the world to see Jesus. In this Advent, post-resurrection, we look forward to the kingdom of heaven on earth, and even when we don’t see it, we must remind one another that Christ will return.
I’m reflecting on 1st Thess. 4:13 in which the Thessalonians are encouraged to not grieve the loss of their loved ones as though they don’t have any hope at all. So, for the next few weeks, I’ll offer an Advent reflection to aid your own thoughts and discipleship. Today, let’s think about HOPE. For what are you hoping to see as this year comes to a close? What about next year?
I could use ‘hope’ as a noun as something you hold onto, but I want to use ‘hope’ as a verb as something you actively do. I hope you understand. When I was a kid, I was hoping for all sorts of gifts for Christmas. I couldn’t wait. Seeing Christmas through our own children brings back those childhood memories for me, and suddenly I am hoping Santa will bring me something on Christmas morning too!
How we live shows what/who we hope for. [How we live shows for what/who we hope] – for all you grammar gremlins!] I’m not sure of your season, but is your life a testament to this thought? Not asking is your life perfectly showing ‘heaven on earth,’ nor am I asking, ‘are you living a holy life?’ Here’s what I’m asking us to consider: is what I’m doing right now indicative of what I hope will be in the future?
Before you go apply for a new job, hold on, because I hope that you understand that you may be in the exact spot for the Lord to use you in building His kingdom in the now and in the future. Your job or season may not be what you want it to be, but you may be doing a job or in a season in which you could be preparing for your next one. Folks, this is something I have to remind myself everyday in researching and writing a PhD. It can be mentally draining and difficult to process and compute all of the data, and there are times I’ve asked Jesus, “What are you going to do with this PhD? If you could give me a hint, that would be great!”
Like I said last week, I believe the Lord answered that prayer and has given me a compass reading to navigate the future waters. I’ll hold this compass reading in discernment, but for now, I have hope for post-PhD life and ministry in more ways than I can count. That is the work of the Lord, and it is marvelous.
Now, every paragraph, every footnote, every page, every word has a new meaning for me. I am researching and writing in an active hope that the Lord will bring to light everything I see. Nothing else matters at this time except for practicing: How I live shows what/who I hope for.
Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” If the answer does not give you hope, then ask the Lord for such a hope in your work. Ask for clarity in your work. Ask for vision in your work. Ask for meaning in your work. Ask the Lord to show you how your work and season can be used to build his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Maybe, just maybe, in asking for the Lord’s clarity, you may either see the prominence of your work, or maybe you’ll see His providence (and glimpse) of a future work. I hope to hear from you about what the Lord reveals to you.
Don’t just have hope…..but, HOPE.
A very blessed Advent to you and cheers.