Picture Advent Day 1: Hope

Picture Advent Day 1: Hope

#ONAPictureAdvent 2020

Hope on November 29, 2020 by Kimi Floyd Reisch

Luke 1: 78 – 79 By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Advent was not recognized until the fourth century.

At the time, Christmas was a time when new believers prepared for their own baptism/rebirth as followers of Christ, and it was considered a time for all believers to prepare their hearts for the second coming of Christ.  It was only in the past fifty or sixty years that Advent became a period of contemplation and reflection specifically regarding the birth of Jesus on December 25th.

This shift in focus often feels to me like a diminished Advent. Focusing so heavily on the nativity of Jesus implies that the two most important times in his life were his birth and his death, ignoring the years of work and ministry he did inbetween.

This has been a year of change and transition. It has been a time of deepening conversations around how we come together to respond to the painful legacies of the past and the present, and how we work together to end divisions because of who we are, who we love, or what we believe. Hope is how we envision that better future. Critical to that hope, for Christian seekers, is how we envision Jesus. The justice-focus of Jesus’s lived ministry may not reflect God’s promise of a messiah in the way his birth did nor the sacrifice his crucifixion did, but that ministry is critical guidance to creating a world where all are treated as Beloved.

Coming out as transgender, bisexual or same-gender-loving (SGL) still means loss and rejection for too many of God’s beloved people, and that is one of the many injustices still present in our lives. A promise to affirm all people no matter who they are, is a reflection of the church and the world we hope to create. Unlike human rejection, this embodied way of living into our faith focuses on the lessons from Scripture that promote love and justice as the guiding principles of our shared community. When we can do that, the entire world will finally move toward becoming an instrument of peace and light for all people. The entire world will move with the Hope of Advent.

How will the promise of love and justice inform how you envision the birth of Jesus and the Advent season this year?

Prayer: God, the world needs your light this year. Your people hurt. We need the promise of Jesus and we yearn for a better world. Walk with us this Advent and guide our feet as promised, onto a path of just peace. Amen

We invite you to join The Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ on Facebook over the next few weeks as we Picture Advent. How do you envision the words of Advent? What images come to mind? This year, as we are all far apart on Advent, maintaining social distances to keep us safe, join us in a new tradition and participate in #ONAPicture Advent. We’re inviting you to use each day’s theme to inspire a daily photo – either a new picture or an older one. Each afternoon, we will post a new reflection for that day’s word with a focus text, prayer, and an image. Then, post your chosen image as a response to our thread. At the bottom of our reflection is the word for the next day, allowing you to consider what the word means to you. And PLEASE COPY – use this chart to have your own #ONAPictureAdvent within your own faith community.

The image above is one of the ways we picture Hope this Advent. Tomorrow’s word is Prepare.

Here is the entire list:

Word Date
Hope 11/29/20
Prepare 11/30/20
Wait 12/1/20
Listen 12/2/20
Affirm 12/3/20
See 12/4/20
Promise 12/5/20
Peace 12/6/20
Tender 12/7/20
Comfort 12/8/20
Home 12/9/20
Ancestors 12/10/20
Kindness 12/11/20
Nurture 12/12/20
Joy 12/13/20
Open 12/14/20
Awaken 12/15/20
Courage 12/16/20
Truth 12/17/20
Provide 12/18/20
Grace 12/19/20
Love 12/20/20
Shine 12/21/20
Blessed 12/22/20
Rejoice 12/23/20
Glory 12/24/20