SOMETHING TO PARTY ABOUT. No doubt, we will observe the official New Year on January 1. But we will do so as ones who have prepared for it with soul-searching, Word-guiding, promise-bearing, Incarnation-proclaiming anticipation. By the time the world's New Year rolls around, we will be several days into our celebration of the Word made flesh, the Advent conspiracy commenced, hope alive, the future drawing near. While New Year's Eve revelers drink emptily to the New Year, we will have already embraced its challenges with imagination and courage. We will celebrate, but not like ones who have no hope.
BEYOND THE NEW YEAR. With Advent, we turn toward the New Year, to be sure, but toward something beyond it. Our hopes are not in the New Year. Our hope is in the One who holds our time and all time in His hands. During these four weeks, we remind ourselves of preparation and anticipation of the ancient story that reaches into the future and gives purpose in the present. We recall that our lives are rooted in something deeper than mere culture and tradition, that we are not alone in our struggles for justice and a better world, and that love has come to us right where are--a love the invites belief, faith, perseverance, and a confident hope in a yet-to-be-fulfilled future.
EMBRACE THE STORY, LIVE ITS PROMISE. I embrace these weeks with gratitude for the opportunity to look forward with meaning and purpose. Perhaps I am unusually moved by the shaping of these days in terms of hope, but I accept that as a grace and share it as one of a handful of enthusiasms I possess and pass along. I challenge you to begin to contemplate anew the age-old story of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. In this multi-faceted story is enough tangible hope to charge our present days, empower us to let go of yesterday's disappointments, and bring the future near. Let's begin to celebrate the New Year together even now.
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