A Hopeful Work

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A Hopeful Work

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Category : Pastor Blog

Probably my favorite part of being a parent is watching the uniqueness of your child develop.  It is typical for a young child to look to others, especially parents and other family members, to understand what likes and dislikes he or she should have.  

A great example from my life is that many months ago, Catherine expressed an intense interest in Star Wars, one of my favorite movie series ever.  She and Kyla had just bought me a Star Wars themed gift and she really wanted to know all about it.  I talked to Kyla about it and she agreed that Catherine and I could watch the original, 1977 Star Wars movie together a few weekends later.

The day finally arrived and I was incredibly excited to share this bit of culture with my daughter. We had the popcorn popped, the pizza hot and ready, the volume on the TV up and the movie cued up and ready to go.  It started with the John Williams trumpet fanfare and then the long scroll of bright words across a starry background began. She watched with rapt attention as the first few scenes played out, but she became a bit restless after about 20 minutes of the movie.  After a while, she wanted to ask me a question, so I paused the movie and gave her my attention.

“Daddy, can I go upstairs and play? This movie is boring.”

My heart almost broke.  This moment that I had been anticipating with such excitement was over barely 20% of the way through. But in hindsight, that was the first moment that began to recognize that Catherine is figuring out who she is.  She has relied on me a great deal for understanding that since she was born, but recently, her identity has begun solidifying within her, apart from the influence of me and Kyla. We never finished Star Wars, instead she’s watched most all of season one of “Glitter Force” a fashion focused kids show about five girls who turn into super heroes. -sigh-

But even though Catherine is beginning to craft her own opinions and develop her own points of view, the role of a parent is to continually be an influence throughout her life, even if she’s not excited about it (no, you can’t have halloween candy for breakfast!)  I do this because I care about her, about her development, and about who she will become as an adult.  And this is the hardest and most important work I do as a parent. Yet, even as I work, I am hopeful of the amazing woman she will become.

I cannot imagine the burden that Mary and Joseph carried as they recognized that they were rearing the son of God.  In the beginning, they told him what to eat, when to go to bed, where to stand, and decided when he would go to the temple and when he wouldn’t.  All of this was done so that Jesus would have a solid foundation for life and for his spirit when he would eventually come into his own and begin his ministry.  God specifically designed for Jesus to be born into a faithful family so that he would know community, know tradition, know hard work, and know love and loss.  Through it all, Mary and Joseph had hope in the work they did raising Jesus.

In much the same way, our lives of discipleship are ones where we are in continual development under the watchful gaze of Creator.  God instills within us a curiosity and a desire to know and to grow.  We spend a large portion of our lives “discovering” and better understanding ourselves and knowing our own desires and opinions and then we are off discovering and understanding who and what God is.  It is then that our and God’s hopeful work begins, as we begin to move closer and closer in relationship with our Maker, our Sustainer, our Lord, and our King.

May God’s hopeful work begin anew within you as we seek the newborn king in this Advent Season.


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