Posts Tagged ‘advent’

From Griswald to Hope

The house is trimmed with Christmas lights.  The palm tree is adorned with similar bright decor.  Candy canes are aligned in formation around the sidewalk with an inflatable Polar Bear at its charge.  It is a balmy winter wonderland in Florida.  But something just isn’t right.

About a month ago Amanda asked me what I thought about a fake tree.  Once I realized that she wasn’t being weird and wanting a fake fica in the living room and that she was talking about a Christmas tree, I was faced with a decision.  We ultimately decided on a fake Christmas tree.  It was put up with ease. The lights went on without a hitch.  I did not shock myself with a broken bulb and I did not have to twist and turn the tree until it appeared straight.

The same uneventful turn of events happened while putting up the outside lights.  I used a new tool that did not involve staples or a ladder.  I pulled nothing and I did not cut myself.  Nor did I face near death by twisting and turning atop a broken ladder in order to staple one more section of lights without moving said ladder over.  Yes, I’ve been called Clark Griswald more than once in the past several years.

But what’s not right about all of this?  Everything went smooth.  Not accidents. No incidents.  Why am I frustrated that I was able to put up my tree and light the outside in about 5 hours faster time than before.  I don’t miss the ladder. I don’t miss the prickly pine needles. I don’t miss having to water the tree. I don’t miss the aching back.  It’s weird, but what I missed was the disfunction of the set up.  I miss the accidents.  I miss the squirrel that tried to attack me last year. The chaos being enticing to a point where health seemed unreal and unnatural.

I see this happen in people’s lives all the time.  We want to get healthy.  We want to do things rights.  The reality, however, is that health is scary.  The crisis becomes a drug.  We forget how to function in health and therefor sabotage ourselves anytime we start to live “right”.  We generally take the initial step to make our goals, but we rarely use the tools necessary to get us there.

This Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent.  Hope is the theme of this week for our church.  Moving from Hope to Joy.  There is a difference in the beginning and the end.  Hope sets our sights on the thing we seek.  Joy is the celebration in its fruition.  What do you hope for?  What do you hope in?  Does what or who you hope in matter enough to change how you live?

Amanda and I wanted to spend less time setting up and taking down these decorations.  The only way to achieve that was to act differently.  Once I got over the trap of tradition and pratfalls, I really enjoy what we accomplished and how everything looks.  One other thing happened.  A strand of lights went out.  If I had set up the old way it would have been a decorating disaster to fix.  Living out of a new approach enabled me to fix the strand with ease as well as add to our overall design.  In our lives, living out of hope does not mean life will not diverge into the frustrating, but it can offer you a way to make that frustration work for you and not agains you.  If you want Joy in your life, start with Hope and allow that hope to change how you live.


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