We went for a walk yesterday afternoon. Christmas trees with lights on were in windows. A number of families were putting Christmas lights on and around their houses – bright and highly visible.
Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent. In many churches across the world, the first advent candle would have been lit to remind us of a baby who came to be the light of the world. Traditionally the first advent candle, lit and highly visible, symbolises unseen hope.
Following his operation a couple of weeks ago my friend Steve is going for a CT scan today. The doctors will be able to see bits of Steve that are usually unseen….
I had dental treatment last week. Dr Curtis took an x-ray and discovered some decay underneath a crown. Unknown by me, unseen by her in the routine inspection but detected, drilled and dealt with.
I’m writing this at 9.00am. Twenty years ago I would have been taking Monday morning school assembly. I was required to talk about and promote the spiritual, the unseen – honesty, loyalty, courage, compassion, truth….
Last night we listened to John Andrews. John wrote ‘Beyond Broken’, a book that really helped us and a number of friends when we were going through a time of unseen pain a few years ago.
He spoke of the prophet Habakkuk: ‘Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.’
The visible situation is a disaster; John reminded us that unseen hope brings joy, meaning and purpose.
The first advent candle, the candle of hope is also the known as the ‘prophets’ candle’. Habakkuk’s unseen light still shines.