Hope Turns on the Light

 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23
– tree, in process

Wednesday, December 1, 2021. We are well into the first week of Advent, still thinking about the key words of “Hope” and “Light.”

Also, and very much apropos to the theme, Rebekah and I are in the middle of decorating the house. It’s a process, of course, and our hope for the coming of Christmas is being illuminated most beautifully as the lights, and the candles, and more lights, and so many ornaments that reflect the light begin to take their place.

“We want our adornments to be more simple this year,” Rebekah has said… again. And they really are, especially compared to the classic “over-the-top” extravagant celebrations at Maul-Hall Brandon, where there were at least three full-sized trees, more festive bling than I could possibly describe, and the roof or the house lit up like the main runway at Tampa International Airport.

But then we end up putting out more because, while we acknowledge the simple beauty of the essential tableau, all our loud over-the-topness also tells the true story of joy and celebration; and – let’s face it – we could use all the light and hope possible right now. And I know, I just know, that the baby in the manger, watched over by the angel at the other end of the room, has a twinkle in his eye.

Hope turns on the Light:

– the last of the savaged sheep…

Even the nativity by now is beginning to attract additional visitors, and – more and more – the theme of light is illuminating the hope. And the hope in turn is turning on the light.

Our focus yesterday was the tree. It’s not finished quite yet but we are well on the way. We love pulling out the older ornaments and remembering the stories they tell. Gifts from beloved friends, commemorations of times and places, ornaments made by our children when they were very young.

Like this tin-foil bell from pre-school Andrew in the early 1980’s. I can’t believe it still holds together. The bell has taken its traditional place on the lower branches, where it was consistently swatted by more than one of the family cats, as were several fuzzy sheep. The sheep population has been reduced at this date to just one – the others having been savaged by both cats and dogs.

I think I will conclude today’s post with a series of favorite ornaments. Because most of the light really comes from the story – the stories – of hope. And hope, as Paul writes, never disappoints us.


and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Romans 5:5


  1. Derek, Thank you for this post. This first week of Advent is truly about hope and light. My wife and I also simplified our Christmas decorating this year but that has not in any way diminished the spirit. In fact, It gave me opportunity to gaze at old ornaments that were made or purchased at various mile stones in our family’s life. The ornaments represent Hope that in turned into reality and blessings. These blessings have created light for the present and the future. It makes my heart sing.

    Liked by 1 person

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