On This First Sunday of Advent


I have this habit of pulling back from joy after I’ve experienced it in the extreme. It’s as if I convince myself that there’s no way I can repeat the happiness that I’ve experienced, so I shut down a bit to ward myself from potential disappointment. Of course, this a becomes self-fulfilling, and it’s depressing way to live.

Over a year ago, when I rode my bike regularly as a part of my commute, I got caught in a downpour. I started laughing when I reached my neighborhood, overcome with joy. I haven’t ridden my bike since that day. Months ago I meditated and practiced yoga daily, and it felt good. I can’t name the day I stopped, but I have. The first week in October I went on a life-changing retreat, or so I thought, but I’ve done very little afterwards to actually change my life. Over the summer, my local church took amazing steps to include LGBT folks, but I have been less active than at any point in my life.

I went to church today, and what I heard was it’s a risk to hope. That’s what I’ve failed to do. Without risking to hope, all that’s really left is hopelessness.

I light this Advent candle as a symbol of hope. I choose to risk disappointment and look instead for the signs of renewed life all around me, and live as if it’s already here.

Jesus told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, you know that God’s kingdom is near (Luke 21:29-31,CEB).