Advent blessings to you!
Today is the first Monday of Advent. Advent is a season of waiting. We wait for the last day of class. We wait for finals to be over. We wait to know the final College Football Rankings. We wait for Christmas to come. The nights get longer and the days get shorter and we wait. We wait for the light to shine through the darkness. We wait for the hope of God’s love, peace, and joy to be made real in our lives and our world. We wait to experience God’s presence again. We wait to know, to really feel deep in our bones, that Immanuel, God With Us, is really with us. We wait.
We are so excited that you are waiting with us this year through these TCU Advent Devotionals. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in December you will receive a devotional in your email written by a member of the TCU community. We hope that they will give you time to pause from the busyness, to be still, and to listen for the still small voice God speaking hope, peace, joy and love into our world.
Today’s devotional is written by Brenda Mapel. Brenda is a senior Religion major at TCU. Brenda is a leader in Disciples on Campus, Chi Delta Mu, and the TCU Worship team. She is a creative artist and a beautiful thinker. She takes her faith seriously and spends time asking good questions, practicing contemplative spirituality, and listening to and serving others. She reminds us today that hope is more than desire. Hope is a trust that what we cannot see yet, is still coming just beyond the horizon. I pray you hear God whispering hope into your life through her words.
Peace to you,
Rev. Allison Lanza
TCU Associate Chaplain
An Advent Devotional, By Brenda Mapel
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:29-33
Hope- a noun used to describe (1) a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen (2) a feeling of trust.
It seems to me that hope is abundant in my world. I hope that I passed the exam I took last week, my roommate hopes she can make it through nursing school, my friends hope that next semester will be easier, and I am sure that we are all hoping to make it through these next three weeks.
I have always understood hope as the first definition, something of desire, but in the scripture where Mary is approached by Gabriel a new hope can be found. Mary was “greatly troubled” by the angels words. Looking out into a vast future, like Mary, we are uncertain of what it will bring. This young girl was called upon to do a great task because the Lord saw something beautiful in her. We are called to make impacting decisions every day. How will I treat my neighbor? Will I try to put someone else before me? These small responsibilities carry the same weight as Mary’s decision.
Big decisions can sometimes cloud our mind; they paralyze us with fear and drain our motivation.
Mary clung to hope, she trusted that God would be with her no matter how big the task. Now is a season for asking the tough questions and looking to the future.
Now is the season for Mary’s trusting hope.
A Prayer by Henri JM Nouwen
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”