Arriving and Hoping Day 5

Thursday, Dec. 8:

AM Psalm 37:1-18; PM Psalm 37:19-42;
Amos 9:1-10; Rev. 2:8-17; Matt. 23:13-26

Virginia McCray

I was filled with anticipation, excitement and energy as I put on my
clerical collar for the first time on September 18, 2011. I took care that my
hair looked just right and I wore my favorite pair of black heels so I wouldn’t
trip over the long cassock (robe) I was supposed to wear! The details had finally
come together and now all I needed to do was arrive at the ceremony. After a
long year and a half process, I had finally arrived at the day of my ordination to
become a deacon.

This year has been filled with a great sense of accomplishment in my life personally. My ordination, along with several other things in my life, has made me feel like I have arrived at the beginning of a new chapter. But with the arrival of new things I also have a sense of hoping for things that have yet to arrive. I have hopes to find a job in a church. I have hopes to get married. I have hopes
for what ministry will look like.

No doubt Mary felt like she had finally arrived when she reached Bethlehem
after her long and arduous journey. What relief she must have felt after enduring hours of labor to hold her baby in her arms at last. What joy must have filled her heart as she gazed into Jesus’ eyes and saw the fulfillment of God’s word to her through the angel.

With the celebration of His arrival just around the corner, what hopes do I
have? I am reminded that Christ has not only arrived here on earth (and in my
heart), but He has also already arrived in my future. He already knows 2012
with all its certain joys and sorrows. He has entered my heart with all the hopes
and dreams that I still experience. I arrive at one thing only to realize I hope for
and long for something else in the future.

The arrival of Christ, with all its earth-shattering answers to the problems of
humankind, creates in me a new sense of longing for a place where there will be
no more tears, no more cancer, no more pain, no more divorce, a place where
God will meet me face to face and answer all my longings. Until then, I continue to live as best I can into the mystery of who Christ is, knowing that he alone can satisfy all my longings, even as I wait by faith for longings yet unfulfilled.

(Today’s exercise: Thank God today for two things he has done for you this
year and call to mind two things that you’re hoping for in the new year. Entrust
these hopes to God. Thank God in advance for the way in which he, in his
grace, inscrutably perhaps, in goodness most certainly, will answer your hopes.)

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