Advent, Christmas Eve

I don’t write on this blog much anymore. I wrote “Emptiness” when a friend asked me to write on suffering and God, and the last two posts were poem-like pieces in response to prompts by Jaime Bagley. For December Jamie suggested that we write about the four themes of Advent, Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. I gave it a try, but got stuck on hope. I wrote out something, but didn’t post it.

Then I got asked to say something on Christmas Eve as I light the Christ Candle. So here I share with you my attempt to write about hope, and my anticipated words for Christmas Eve; Emanuel: God with us.


No, God, don’t ask me to hope.
There is pain out there – real pain.

(Spanish) to hope … to wait

But they are not the same – waiting and hoping.

I’m waiting for the pain to go away.
Don’t ask me to hope – to refresh the pain.
Besides, I don’t have much time to wait.

I’ve never done much hoping; don’t ask me to start now.
I never expected things to turn out OK.
Most of my life turned out far better than I could have hoped for.
But not because I hoped.

Yet, it is Advent, and I am asked to hope.
Maybe I can do this much:

I can have hope in others.
– I can look deeply into others; beyond words and incidents.
– I can see goodness wherever it exists.
– I can see beauty anywhere.

I can relinquish my sense of control;
– hope does not depend on me
– I am still responsible for my actions
– but so are others
– we are all responsible
– but hope depends on none of us.

It’s not much, but it is what I can hope for.

Emanuel: God With Us

Tonight we light the Christ Candle: Emanuel; God with us.

Certainly the greatest miracle in my life was the birth of my daughters.


What a perfect way for us to understand the presence of God among us: this story of God being born into an infant – with all of creation as witness – the peasant shepherds, the rulers of nations, the animal world and all the angels: it’s a beautiful story, and I love it.

But I also want us to remember the unabridged version of Emanuel: God with us.

That God – all that word means and has meant to all people throughout history – the creative spirit that infuses all life – all that is sacred and good –


Is available to us;

To you, to me

Right here

Right now.

As I light the Christ Candle, I invite you to have the audacity to actually believe in Emanuel: God with us.


About Newell Hendricks

I have lived a good life. Maybe a counterculture life, maybe a normal life. I have written operas, built houses, been involved with cross-cultural education between Latin America and the U.S, and hardly ever had a job I have helped raise two wonderful children with my amazing wife. It's been a good ride. And I go to church. I've just finished a book of stories from my life, I am still connected to an organization in Nicaragua that promotes sister relationships between communities, faith communities, or schoold, and to the extent that my cancer doesn't pull me down, am attempting to share some of what I have learned, or at least tried out. Welcome, and let's share.
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2 Responses to Advent, Christmas Eve

  1. Jamie Wright Bagley says:

    Thank you for joining the link-up and sharing your heart. This Advent season had a strange close to it, and the new year opened with heaviness. I keep learning new levels of acceptance as life adds new layers to my understanding. It is quite the storm of emotions and a challenge of trust. When my faith burns small, it’s good to know my brothers and sisters are still lighting candles and holding the flame. It feels somehow lighter as well as brighter.


  2. Jamie, thank for making the space and creating the invitation for me to share with you and therefore with others some of my ponderings. I don’t feel the urge to share much these days, but when invited by you, I have responded, and so your invitations have been a blessing to me. I am sorry to hear that there is heaviness in your life this time of year. Consider my candle lit for you and your family


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