By Stassi Cramm, member of First Presidency
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
Third Sunday of Advent
I have always been intrigued about the concept of hope, probably because I have a lot of questions about it. Is hope a feeling, an emotion, or a state of being? Is it something that must be generated from within or given to you by others? Can you be too hopeful? How do you find hope if you feel hopeless? How do you remain hopeful when life is difficult? Why is hope one of the four Advent themes? Like I said, so many questions.
In my search for understanding, I have read a lot of material about hope. I’ve learned that hope is many things and takes many forms. For instance, sometimes hope is fragile, and you have to work on gently holding on to it. Other times, hope is persistent, and it clings to you through life’s storms. Sometimes you can create your own sense of hopefulness while other times you need the support of others.
One of my favorite similes for hope is that it is like a light shining in a dark place. John 1:7–8 names John as the one who came to testify to the light. John was announcing the advent of hope as he testified how Jesus was coming to bring light into darkness.
Like John, we are sent to announce the advent of hope to a world in darkness. As we live Christ’s mission as our mission, we uphold the hope that is found in recognizing the worth of all persons, celebrating unity in diversity, protecting the Earth, creating inclusive communities, and so much more.
As we move through this time of expectant waiting known as Advent, I pray the Spirit will lead us to new understandings about hope. May we be awake and ready to respond. May God grant us the courage to risk trying new ways to experience and share the advent of hope that shines the light of Christ into dark places.
“And the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
Praying for Peace
Praying for peace is a daily Community of Christ spiritual practice. This Advent season we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the prayer for peace. Bring a candle to your prayer space. Greet God, light the candle, and sit quietly, looking at this symbol of God’s light and Christ’s peace. Slowly read the Prayer for Peace in today’s Daily Bread, silently or aloud. Sit in silence again. What images and desires for peace come to your heart and mind? Speak or write your own prayer for peace. Close your prayer and blow out your candle.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.