Ready or not, here it comes: Advent has arrived.
Advent is here, and I have to confess it was a struggle to begin to write a blog about ‘Hope’. In recent days/weeks/months I have found it all too easy to get sucked into scrolling and scrolling through social media posts – which unfortunately are not always the most uplifting. Turns out there is a word for this – Doomscrolling: to incessantly scroll through bottomless gloom-and-doom news for hours. And according to clinical psychologist Dr. Amelia Aldao, getting swept up in grim content, and the vicious cycle of negativity that is most social media outlets these days, can throw a “dark filter” on how we see the world.
A dark filter. Now that hits a little too close to home.
But if there is one thing that I know, and appreciate, and celebrate about Advent it is not darkness, but light.
I remember as a child the excitement I felt each week during worship as another candle of the Advent wreath would be lit. I would gaze up at those flickering flames and know that though time seemed to be crawling at the slowest pace possible, that we were another week closer to Christmas celebrations.
As I have grown older time does not seem to crawl any more, but the candles of the Advent wreath still remain a powerful symbol. There may be any number of things that threaten darkness in the world today, but I know that the light of Christ shines brighter than them all.
It is this light which gives me hope. Not just a wish, or an expectation. Not just trying to be optimistic. But a deep, abiding hope. A hope that knows the smallest flicker of light can burst forth and dispel the darkest night. A hope that knows that to God, “the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:12).
So this Advent season, I’m committing to focus not on the darkness, but the light of hope. And I’ll sing my favorite Advent hymn every week if I have to in order to remember it!
I want to walk as a Child of the light
I want to follow Jesus
God set the stars to give light to the world
The star of my life is Jesus
In him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The lamb is the light of the city of God
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus