Edlen CowleyTheme: Hope

By Rev. Edlen Crowley, Fellowship UMC

Charles Dicken’s famous novel The Tale of Two Cities opens with the famous phrase, ”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” As we enter the season of Advent, this line speaks timelessly to the human condition. Though we today may be discouraged by the images from our southern border, the hyperbole and gridlock of Washington D.C., and the fear of the outcome of the upcoming special called session of our General Conference, we are reminded that we begin the Advent journey with hope. Hope that is not rooted in ourselves, our system of government, or even our denomination; a hope that is built on nothing less than the Christ-child who is coming again this Advent season.

When we light the Christ candle 23 days from now, the presence and power of the Christ-child will be remembered and celebrated. As we embrace our roles as Advent “Ambassadors,” we remember and remind others that hope is “not” on a holiday. We remember that we are not called to “give up” but rather to “get up” and “be” the personification of hope in the lives of ourselves and others for the sake of Jesus Christ.  

My father, the late Rev. Dr. Gilbert Thomas Cowley would often, while preaching, look out at his congregation and say, “the only sermon some people will ever see is the sermon you preach with your life.” He would then lean in and look intently at the congregation and say “preach well … everyday.” This Advent, we are called to remember that the lives we live may be the only Advent sermon someone will see. We should “preach well” everyday this Advent.

Advent Hope is on the horizon. Jesus Christ is coming near to us again. The words of John 3:17 ring loud and true, “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (NRSV) The words of Faith Hill’s beautiful Christmas song “A Baby Changes Everything,” describe this season. Indeed “the” baby does change everything. Happy Advent and I pray that you have a hope-filled Merry Christmas.

Reflection Questions:

  • How can I celebrate “the best” in this Advent season?
  • How can I preach an Advent message with my life?
  • How can I embody the change that “the” baby brings to the world?