Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent - a meditation on hope

The Annunciation by Henry O. Tanner
This painting moves me.  I have a book of paintings of the Annunciation.  I am drawn to the renderings of something so powerful and mysterious as an encounter with a call to purpose.  There is no inkling of the cost.  It is the beginning of great and terrible expectations, a swelling of spirit.  I particularly love this painting because it shows Mary of Nazareth as a teenager, just awakened from sleep and on the brink of saying "yes" to God.  How far and deep that "yes" would resonate began in one awe-full moment. 

How can anyone know what is ahead.  This is how I am feeling these days.  I am waking up to a compressed longing  for things to be better in the world and in particular for a few loved ones.  Perhaps the answer is in timing, like pregnancy.  Things are ready when there is ripening.  So much has to happen and be coordinated and that is where the waiting and expectation come into play.  First there has to be hope and then there is preparation with the expectation that it will come to pass.  

I am having a baby shower for something birthing in my soul...I don't know what the baby is yet, but I feel this stirring anticipation.  I want to be ready, I want it to be good so there's preparation: cleaning, beautifying, refining, joy to cultivate into booties for my hope when it comes.

Yesterday I heard of a woman giving birth 4 weeks early.  The baby was taken by caesarean because of fetal distress.  The mother hadn't been eating and she and the baby were dehydrated.  The baby was long but very low in weight and having to start its fragile life in an incubator.

Is this what happens when we don't care for our hope, does it slow the time of ripening, could it shrivel to death?  Doesn't hope, like a fetus, depend on daily nurturing?

And this makes me wonder:    is this what is lacking and why the world is not getting better?   s the second Advent on hold for more hope-ers so that the world's hope can ripen? 

Wait, hope and see. 

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