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Reflections | Dr. Leighton Ford (Mentoring)

Advent Sunday 2021

November 29, 2021


First Advent Sunday, late afternoon

Buddy and I took a walk this afternoon, a half-mile from where we now live, down Coltsgate Road, the street where we built a house, and where our family lived for thirty years.

It was near dusk as we walked, often called a “liminal” time, that in-between space where light and darkness meet. That certainly describes the last several days for us.

Yesterday was exactly forty years since our Sandy died, not able to survive surgery meant to fix a runaway heart. November is always a month where the shadow of that loss hovers over the Thanksgiving gatherings as we still miss his vital and vibrant presence.

I felt that loss today as we turned a curve in the road toward where our house once stood and remembered how, on the Sunday night after his passing, hundreds of friends stood in line outside that house for many hours, waiting to offer their sympathy.

As Buddy and I retraced our steps toward home today, the dimming sky suddenly turned into brilliant streaks of purples and pinks that lit up the entire horizon.

It was breathtaking and hope bringing. As we beheld this glory, my mind was lit up with the realization that today is Advent Sunday. We worshiped this morning with song and sermon focused on Advent – the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ then, now, and in the time to come!

This morning I read the words of the late Henri Nouwen about the difference between wishes and hopes. “Hope,” he wrote, “is trusting that something will be fulfilled, but fulfilled according to the promises and not just according to our wishes. Therefore, hope is always open-ended.”

That afternoon walk was open-ended for me, a sign that “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot put it out.” (John 1:5)

Leighton Ford
November 28, 2021

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