Hope Anyway

So I’m working on my Advent 3 sermon with lessons that take us from “… and again I say rejoice!” in Philippians to “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” in Luke.

I know it’s officially “Joy Sunday” but I was feeling like maybe “Whiplash Sunday” might be more accurate — and then I found these words from a recent reflection by Steven Charleston … which may or may not end up in the sermon on Sunday but are certainly preaching to me today. Perhaps they will to you as well.

It is that time of year again:
the season of our emotional ambiguity.

Part of us wants to feel happy and another part wants to hide.
It is a season of cross-currents.

Sad anniversaries mixed with wonderful memories.
Our genuine desire to celebrate a vision of peace with others,
but also a need to withdraw and heal.

Welcome to the tightrope. Let’s cross it together.

All of us who are sad, and all of us who are happy,
and all of us somewhere in-between.

We can cross over this transition together,
with love our balancing bar,
holding sorrow and joy in harmony.

Let us cross together.

For isn’t that at the heart of this holy season: finding hope anyway an ambiguous season?

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