ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP
This week, we began our series on the classic themes of Advent, examining how each of these themes— hope, peace, joy, and love demonstrate the profound goodness of the Gospel. When we look at the pain and difficulty that so often surround us, it can become difficult to believe that hope is a wise or valid outlook on the world. The return of Jesus, the restoration of the world, the realization of all things made new, can seem very distant from the realities of our daily life. But hope, like gratitude sometimes needs to be cultivated. This week, consider taking some time in prayer to explore both the places of darkness and the places of hope in your life.
Situate yourself somewhere comfortable and quiet, and perhaps light a candle to remind you of the presence of God in your midst. When you are ready, begin by considering the areas of your life that have felt dark, or burdensome, or consistently difficult. Try to choose two or three of the most significant things, rather than an extensive list. Stay present to the emotions and thoughts that you have when you consider these things. Don’t dismiss your emotions or try to talk yourself out of them. Simply ask for the presence of Jesus to break in to these situations, acknowledging that he is already with you even in your darkest times.
When you are ready, begin to shift your attention to areas of light, gratitude, and joy in your life. These do not need to be large or significant moments. If you are struggling to find hope, even the smallest thing will do. Ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to see how God is at work in your life and the determination to look for the ways that the very good news, the hope of the gospel, is already at work in the world.
Come back later this week for expanded practical tip!
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.