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It's always Advent at First Light

We are not used to waiting for much. Instant messaging, email, iPods, news flashes to our phones …we enjoy the privilege of having instant gratification for information, indeed, for most of our “wants.” Many of us have learned that we can have almost anything we want NOW.

In contrast, the season of Advent in modern days should remind us of a sense of longing for those good things we wish and hope for but which have been beyond our reach. Have we lost the capacity for “awaiting?” Advent is that time that many of us have been taught should be filled with awe, with yearning….. to fill our emptiness, our needs, our darkness with Light that comes from the One who saves, who heals. Whether one celebrates Advent in the religious sense or not, it just makes plain good common sense that we should nurture our appreciation for the stillness, for the waiting….for deliverance from what oppresses and imprisons us. Taking time to focus on the difference between needs and wants…..recognizing what it is that will bring healing to our souls and psyches….one must spend time NOT being bombarded with the proliferation of stimuli to which we have become accustomed. Advent is meant to quiet us and redirect our hope – for forgiveness, compassion ….for redemption. Like Mary, we should become “pregnant” with anticipation for what good things are to come.

It is ALWAYS Advent at First Light. Our guests spend their time with us in a determined period of awaiting many kinds of things:

One more chance to get things right…

Time to heal…

Sobriety…

A bed…

Reconciliation with family…

Safety and security…

A Job…

Custody of their children…

Self respect……Joy……..a Home.

First Light guests understand waiting…it is their way of life throughout the year. Why would Advent be any different for them? If different it is that many of them will NOT be with their families that they miss and will NOT be at home….whatever that means to them.

As we all experience our own struggles with current economic developments affecting our financial security or our daily lifestyles, I hope we can have a greater appreciation for the simplicity of Advent in our lives. It is in the hollowness, the darkness and absence of hope where we most often recognize that which we need most….not what we want, but what we need. The ladies here at First Light know hopelessness more than I might ever imagine. It is for this reason that I respect them and try to stay open to what I may learn from them. For they know Advent much more than I….in the deepest of ways. And this makes their struggle sacred to me.

Here is wishing to all of you…not what you want, but what you need. Your sisters at First Light await some of these same things….keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Many blessings on you and yours this Christmas and in the New Year. May our hopeful yearnings of the Advents in our lives be met with what we need the most.

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First Light
2230 Fourth Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203
Phone: (205) 323-4277
Fax: (205) 323-8362