Finding a moment of joy and hope

12/21/2015

FOCUS ON THE VISION
DENISE WALTON


I recently read an article entitled, “Is it too much pressure to be merry at Christmas?” The author, Lyda K. Hawkes, through her transparent struggles, encourages the reader to remain open to moments when the true meaning of Advent breaks through this season. 

The Season of Advent is a time of awe, wonder, and expectant waiting. As Christians, we look back at the birth of the Christ and we look forward in anticipation of His second coming. There is hope, love, joy, and peace among us.

However, there is another season commonly referred to as the holiday season. Here we have parties, shopping, commercialism, public expectations, and the noise of the world. If we are not careful, Advent can get lost in the noise of the holiday season.

And yet, the season of Advent holds another quiet reality. For many, the Advent season includes the pain of depression, grief, and loss. Two of my dear friends in life are facing challenges with personal loss. For these women of faith, Advent is filled with gratitude, grief, and pain. 

In my attempt to walk alongside these two friends on the journey, I discovered two amazing books to share during this special time in their lives. “The Empty Chair,” by Robert DeVries and Susan J. Zoonebelt-Smeerge, and “Season of Light and Hope: Prayers and Liturgies for Advent and Christmas.” As they minister to others, I pray they will discover for themselves a moment of hope and joy.

How might you help someone in your church or community have a moment of hope and joy this Advent season?

How might your local church acknowledge the grief and loss faced by many during this time?

As we quiet ourselves and draw closer to Advent, what a wonderful gift it would be to help others have a moment of joy and hope.

May we each experience anew the miracle of Jesus Christ.

Rev. Denise Walton serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries. Contact her at denise@sgaumc.org.