“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
What is the meaning of “hope?” Advent is a time for waiting, anticipating, and preparing. As Christians, we do so with a sense of hope, but this year especially hopefulness has felt rare. Our true hope, however, resides in our hearts and stems from our faith. It rests in our assurance that God brought us into life with the Creation, loved and saved us through the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, supports and guides us through the bestowal of the Holy Spirit, and will bring us ultimately into the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom. Our desire is to love in return and to do what we can to nurture the “first fruits” of that Kingdom in our present time.
To prepare ourselves for this onward journey of faith and ministry – both as individuals and as the St. Margaret’s community — our Advent theme this year is hope. How we find hope, how we embrace hope, how we sustain hope. The first part of the preparation will be to examine ourselves and find inspiration in scripture and the reflections and wisdom of others. The second part will be to come together in a virtual “quiet time” to explore together as a faith community our understanding of and relationship to hope.
Resources for Use at Home
In the link below, you will find a compilation of resources concerning Advent that are intended for your private use. Some are designed for adult prayer and reflection while others are aimed at families. Choose whichever selection calls to you, but we invite you to absorb it through an intention to perceive and experience the hope that God gives you. Make a practice of it, ideally on a daily basis, and consider using a journal to record your thoughts, feelings and impressions. Light a candle! Even better, light an Advent candle, and make this practice a central aspect of your observance of Advent at home.
Virtual Advent Mini-Retreat
Saturday, December 12, 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. EST
To supplement and complement your at-home practice, we invite you to participate in a period of reflection and exploration together in virtual (Zoom) community on the Saturday afternoon falling between the second and third Sundays of Advent. We will be examining and discovering the presence (or absence) of hope in our thoughts, our feelings and our actions, aiming to be both meditative and interactive in our time together. To participate, we ask that you register in advance via the link below. Registration closes on Wednesday, December 9. Shortly before our mini-retreat, registered participants will be provided an outline of the elements of the mini-retreat, further instruction on what to expect, and an indication of some readily available supplies you may wish to have on hand in order to participate as the Spirit moves you! We “hope” to see you there!