Welcoming Hope To the Manger

by Christine Sine


Last week I started work on my Come to the Manger Advent wreath – more a reflective exercise than an art project but one that I am finding is bearing amazing fruit of redemption and healing.

Last week I set my family  round the manger, thinking about all those in my immediate and distant family I want to stand with. I spent a lot of time reflecting on my father whom I originally left out of my photos. I reflected too on those who unexpected deaths still leave gaps in our lives, like Tom’s son Clint and his niece Eileen. I thought about my ancestors and those whose genetics and life journeys shaped me into the person I am. Gratitude welled up and overflowed.


This week I added my friends, those who have journeyed with me some for over 40 years, others whom I have only known for a short time. Others I have never met, like the many that contribute to this blog regularly from around the world – from South Africa, Argentina, Britain, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Lebanon, Canada and the U.S. So many who have encouraged and strengthened me in my journey. In the words of Becca Stevens in her contribution to A Journey Toward Home, redemption frees us from the traps that prevent us from loving God and these are the people who have helped redeem me and whom I have helped redeem.

In this first week of Advent I think in particular of those who have given me hope when life seemed hopeless, those who have believed in me when I could not believe in myself, those who have shone with God’s light when I lived in darkness. I think too of those for whom I have been light, and life. Together we draw close to the manger and stand with the Holy One of God.

The theme for this first week of Advent is hope and it is those who stand round the manger with us who so often give us hope. Who stands with you?

Take some time to reflect on the word hope.  Who has given you hope when you felt hopeless? Who has provided light when you lived in darkness? Pause to bring to mind those who have stood with you and given you hope throughout your life journey. Visualize them standing with you around the manger. Offer prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving for them.

Now think about those for whom you have brought hope. Who stands with you because you have held their hands or helped healed their bodies? Offer prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving for them.

Lord you wait for us,
To come and see you.
You wait
to shine light where there is darkness.
to show love where there is hate.
to share peace where there is conflict.
to give hope where there is despair.
Lord you wait for us
To come and see you.
Let us gather round the manger,
to shine your light,
to show your love,
to share your peace,
to give your hope.
Let us come,
and remember what has been fulfilled.
Let us prepare for what must yet be done.
Let us come
to the One who waits to show us love.



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Mary Sayler December 2, 2014 - 8:12 am

Christine, your post is lovely as always, and the closing prayer is a year-round keeper for all communicators for Christ! I’ll highlight this on the Christian Poets & Writers blog in hopes we’ll keep the prayer going – in our work and in our lives – http://christianpoetsandwriters.blogspot.com. God bless.

Christine Sine December 2, 2014 - 8:27 am

Thanks Mary. I should have a video meditation to go along with the prayer by tomorrow. It has taken a little longer this year – needed time to really reflect on the gathering around the manger before I could get it together.

Jude Tiersma Watson December 2, 2014 - 10:23 am

Love this, shared it on my FB wall. Will be working on my wreath this week.

Christine Sine December 2, 2014 - 11:51 am

Wonderful Jude to hear from you and so glad you like this idea. I look forward to seeing your Advent wreath too. Please send photos.

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