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First Wednesday of Advent, Devotional by Dr. Harry Parker

Advent blessings to you!

Christmas lights are starting to light up the darkness and warmth is beginning to return.  I pray this morning that hope is beginning to seep into your soul.  May you know the hope of God that promises, that no matter what you are a child of God, deeply loved, and so are they.

Today’s devotional is written by Dr. Harry Parker.  Dr. Parker is the TCU Department of Theater chair and the managing director of the Trinity Shakespeare Festival at TCU.  He received his B.F.A in Theater from TCU and his Masters and PHD at the University of Kansas.  He has directed more than 80 professional, community and academic theatre productions across the country including professionally at the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.); Stages Repertory Theatre (Houston); American Heartland Theatre (Kansas City); and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City). In Fort Worth, he has directed professionally for Amphibian Stage Productions, Jubilee Theatre and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, as well as having directed 9 shows for Circle Theatre. He has served at TCU since 2003.  Harry is incredibly creative, passionate about his students, and deeply faithful.  He reminds us that sometimes all we have is hope, and that is enough.  I pray you hear God whispering hope into your life through his words.

Peace to you,

Rev. Allison Lanza

TCU Associate Chaplain

advent devotional header

An Advent Devotional, by Dr. Harry Parker

      “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God; and joy in our hope.” Romans 5: 1-2

The older I get, the more my faith relies on hope.  Maybe it’s because several years of living have created in me a backlog of accumulated frustrations and sadness, but I need hope more than ever.  Maybe it’s because my faith in man-made solutions grows dimmer with each gridlocked Congress and Legislature, with each Trayvon Martin and Ferguson, Missouri, with each Middle East conflagration.  Sometimes I feel like hope is all I have left, and then I realize that it may be all I need.

I’m a theatre director here at TCU, and I recently directed a Christmas musical theatre revue that included an insightful song called “The Truth About Christmas,” with music and lyrics by David Friedman.  It was sung beautifully in our show by TCU junior Jackie Raye.  In the song, a woman bemoans all of her frustrations about the Christmas season: the shopping, the crowded travel, the disappointing family reunions where “they’ve had too much to drink, and told you what they think…”  Yet as the song winds to its conclusion, the singer realizes that she still embraces the rituals of Christmas because, despite her annual frustrations, she’s not yet ready to give up on it all quite yet.  She sings:

                Here’s the truth about Christmas.

                I want it to be nice, I want it to be fun.

                And as I’ve looked around what I have found, is so does everyone.

                So Christmas makes me see that everyone’s like me.

                The pain I’m going through is pain that they’re all feeling too.

                And it’s so encouraging to know we all want the same thing:

                To be loved, to be happy, to have hope.

                That’s the truth about Christmas: HOPE.

                                David Friedman

And that’s what I want for Christmas, and what I want for those close to me: To be loved, to be happy, to have hope.  That’s enough.  That’s plenty.  That’s all I want and all I need for Christmas.

Let us pray

Creator God, as the storms of turmoil and disappointment swirl around us this Advent, help us see your ever-present hope that creates peace and joy. Amen


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