During the season of Advent, I am going to do something new on the blog. I am going to try my best to offer a daily reflection here as we journey through this season together.
Today’s reflection connects with yesterday’s, as we dwelled yesterday a little with Isaiah 64 (as appointed from the revised common lectionary). Today, let’s consider a little bit of Habakkuk (as appointed from the narrative lectionary, Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:2-4; and 3:17-19).
We hear again the idea of speaking, lamenting and crying out. From Habakkuk 1:2, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?”
What do you lift up in prayer today? What do you lament?
Do you lift up the abducted girls in Nigeria? A friend or loved one battling cancer? For clarity of thought and purpose in life and your work? For a faithful response in light of fear, racism, sexism, ageism, or any “-ism” for that matter?
Some times as the writer reminds, justice and righteousness seem absent and not to prevail. It seems like we are even out of relationship with God because God is seemingly absent. This I believe is especially true for those who find the holidays and the period of Thanksgiving through Christmas, especially hard, having lost loved ones.
I had a powerful conversation with my grandma over the weekend. She has the early stages of dementia, which she is well aware. But for the most part, she seems to have most of her mental faculties and is doing quite well. When we were talking though, she admitted what she has really been struggling with. It’s really a two part challenge:
1) How to continue on in conversation with others, when feeling and knowing the conversation will be repeated the next day?
2) How to be faithful in sharing the good news with others, who probably won’t remember you shared it with them the next day?
Grandma is living now at an assisted living home specializing in dementia and Alzheimer’s care. She feels like it is her calling and ministry now to continue to share the good news and the Word with her friends and fellow residents. However, never before has she felt like she is always starting from scratch day after day. How would you feel if you were teaching or sharing like this? I know that I would be discouraged. Even still, Grandma continues.
She continues I think in part because she has trust like Habakkuk has, when writing, “I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he makes me tread upon the heights.”
There it is again. In spite of the lament, there is still room for hope- the hope for the coming Messiah. It’s that hope and reflection about the lament which I think is such a powerful part of Advent.
How do you reflect on some of the struggles you face in your daily life? How do you find or regain hope in the midst of the challenges?