The Raphael Remedy

Persevering in Hope

by | Dec 13, 2023 | Counseling

Advent is a beautiful time of waiting and preparation to receive the Infant King who will deliver the world from sin and death. It can feel rather contradictory though. We finish the liturgical year with apocalyptic readings of end times and then suddenly make the switch to Advent and start focusing on hope.

As this Advent unfolds, for many, it may be harder and harder to maintain hope when not only the days get shorter, but the darkness seems to encroach, all the more, as world events unfold. The end times readings that closed the liturgical year may seem easier to relate to.

But we are called to hope, to maintain a watchful and expectant attitude to receive the long-awaited Messiah. In a reading last week, from the Prophet Isaiah 25: 6-10a, it read: On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations. What a message of hope as we see more and more evil exposed in every area of society. How long it will take, only God knows. But we do know His timing is perfect.

Maintaining hope is a decision. Despite whatever feelings we may have, we need to choose to hope in God’s promises, His power and His timing, not only in the world, but in our individual lives as well. So much remains out of our direct control, but taking steps to maintain hope is something we can and must do.

As you prepare for Christmas, take stock of your mood and whatever stressors you may be experiencing and then think of things to conquer or offset them.

Too much to do?

Take time to review your to do list and clear out things that are not truly necessary. Sure, you may love your traditions, but at what cost? For me, Christmas cards bit the dust a long time ago when my list topped 200. It was quite a relief.

All work and no play this time of year?

Schedule in some leisure or social time. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time- perhaps just a couple of hours with friends. Take control and enjoy the beauty of Advent and the Christmas season. There’s a great acronym I once saw: B.U.S.Y-Being Under Satan’s Yoke. The evil one is especially adept this time of year of keeping us so busy we miss the very meaning of the holy season.

Grieving or fearful?

Schedule some dedicated prayer and spiritual reading time. He came to bring peace and joy and when we seem to be the furthest from those in our circumstances, is when we need to pull in close to Him and just rest. He knows what you’re going through and wants to share it with you.

Feeling lonely?

I bet there are others out there feeling the same thing. Reach out. Try to appreciate the solitude as a time for deeper reflection and union with God. Though it may seem like the whole world is celebrating, on the first Christmas, it was a quiet and gentle night. Salvation had come but only the shepherds heard. Salvation is here. It will unfold. Hope and trust.

Family struggles and many other things can feel accentuated this time of year. It will pass. Do the best you can while you wait on God’s timing to put all things right. He remains in control. Make acts of hope and trust. One day at a time…

I wish you all a most holy Advent and a joyful Christmas. May the Divine Messiah be with you and bring you peace.

Allison Ricciardi, LMHC
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