Good morning! It’s officially the Advent Season, which means it’s also time for our TCU Advent Devotionals, which will be written by TCU students, staff, faculty, and administrators. Our first devotional this year is written by none other than our very own Dr. Kathy Cavins-Tull, who serves as our Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. No stranger to many of you, Kathy is a big part of what makes TCU so special. Her open heart and mind invite others to do the same, allowing us all the space we need to be HOPEFUL in the midst of whatever challenges we might face. And so, as we light the HOPE candle this week, I encourage you to look for and embody the light of HOPE as you reflect on her words for us this morning.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As we enter the season of Advent and if you engage in the spiritual practice of lighting an Advent wreath in preparation for Christmas, you know that the lighting of the first candle symbolizes Hope.
Hope can be an overused word on a college campus one week away from final exams. “I hope I can pull an A on my final exam”. “I hope my teacher will be generous with participation points”. At our house over the weekend it was, “I hope Florida State gets in over Texas”. Hope without a guarantee is just wishful thinking. It is not a service request or an Amazon order with guaranteed next day delivery.
In the Christian context hope is a confident and unequivocal expectation, the hope that comes from our God, the one who always keeps His promises. It is the promise of eternal life and the preparation of eternity by the presence of that relationship with God in our daily lives. Advent is a season of training and assessment. It is a time for us to grow closer to God and refocus our hope in Him.
Just as we practice, study and train to further our understanding and skill, the season of Advent encourages us to do the same. Assess your relationship with God. Serve others and bring light to someone else’s darkness. Seek joy in all of God’s work. Take a walk (the fall colors are still abundant). Spend some time in reflection or prayer. Seek to understand another’s burden. Create a playlist that includes songs that help you to focus on the season of Advent. Enjoy the celebrations of relationships with family, friends and those in your workplace. Make or bake something and share it with others.
So, in this season of preparation I am hopeful that your hard work is evident in the outcomes of your courses and that your participation matters. So, too, does consistent work and participation in becoming closer to God matter.
Let us pray.
God of Hope,
As I enter into a season of reflection and preparation, I give You thanks for your unwavering love. I know You hold me close even in times that I create distance from You. When I feel challenged beyond measure, help me place my hope in You. In a world filled with grief and loss, help me to be an instrument of Your peace. And as I enter a season filled with celebrations, help me to find joy in all Your creations. Let me use this season of Advent to refocus my relationship with You, knowing that Your promise to me is eternal. Amen.