We begin our journey with gratitude from Thanksgiving and the first stop in our journey is lit with the candle for hope on our way to the wonder that is the birth of Christ.
Sunday, November 27, 2022 – The First Sunday candle of Hope
I do not, in my private capacity, believe that a baby gets his best physical food by sucking his thumb; nor that a man gets his best moral food by sucking his soul, and denying its dependence on God or other good things. I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.– G.K. Chesterton, A Short History of England, 1917
Yes, Chesterton tells us that “gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder”. But gratitude is also hope doubled by wonder. And we certainly need hope in these troubled and dark times.
Today, the hope candle is lit by the Light that we all must come to when God draws us to Him.
For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. 21 But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed [f]as having been performed in God.”John 3:20-21
And we in turn become light-bearers in a darkened world, bearing witness to those who are seeking God that there is enough hope for us both as we show them by our preaching and our conduct the way to heaven is real.
So we say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” 7Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.…Hebrews 13:6-8
This shining in a dark world is not easy for any of us. Chesterton encourages us to shine not as ourselves, but with the gift that Christ brought into this world: His Light that shines through us, even if at first we can see only “the abyss of light” as we take our place as light-bearers in this world of hopelessness.
“There is at the back of all our lives an abyss of light, more blinding and unfathomable than any abyss of darkness; and it is the abyss of actuality, of existence, of the fact that things truly are, and that we ourselves are incredibly and sometimes almost incredulously real. It is the fundamental fact of being, as against not being; it is unthinkable, yet we cannot unthink it, though we may sometimes be unthinking about it; unthinking and especially unthanking. For he who has realized this reality knows that it does outweigh, literally to infinity, all lesser regrets or arguments for negation, and that under all our grumblings there is a subconscious substance of gratitude. That light of the positive is the business of the poets, because they see all things in the light of it more than do other men. Chaucer was a child of light and not merely of twilight, the mere red twilight of one passing dawn of revolution, or the grey twilight of one dying day of social decline. He was the immediate heir of something like what Catholics call the Primitive Revelation; that glimpse that was given of the world when God saw that it was good; and so long as the artist gives us glimpses of that, it matters nothing that they are fragmentary or even trivial; whether it be in the mere fact that a medieval Court poet could appreciate a daisy, or that he could write, in a sort of flash of blinding moonshine, of the lover who “slept no more than does the nightingale”. These things belong to the same world of wonder as the primary wonder at the very existence of the world; higher than any common pros and cons, or likes and dislikes, however legitimate. Creation was the greatest of all Revolutions. It was for that, as the ancient poet said, that the morning stars sang together; and the most modern poets, like the medieval poets, may descend very far from that height of realization and stray and stumble and seem distraught; but we shall know them for the Sons of God, when they are still shouting for joy. This is something much more mystical and absolute than any modern thing that is called optimism; for it is only rarely that we realize, like a vision of the heavens filled with a chorus of giants, the primeval duty of Praise.”– G.K. Chesterton, Chaucer, 1932
Our Advent Prayer:
We thank you our gracious God that you have chosen us as your light-bearers to make known to those who are seeking you “the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in [us] the hope of glory“(Colossians 1:27). Just as you empowered your servants to do this for us, now give us your strength to do this same for others that you draw to Yourself for your everlasting glory. Your servants In Christ, Amen.
God has called each of us to be light-bearers in this dark and growing ever-darker world. Go out there and shine the truth of Christ and the love of God. Advent is not just our personal journey, we will meet others along the way that are looking for the Light of that Star to guide them.