Recently, I was reminded about a turn of the century experience which occurred on January 1, 2000. During a New Year’s Eve weekend retreat, the attendees journeyed outside at 12:00 AM and prayed for peace in the east, west, north, and south. That quiet starry night brought us hope for the future as we spoke in faith with the Lord.
I thought about Abraham. As we hear in Genesis 15:5-6, “The Lord brought Abraham outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven and count the stars if you are able to count them.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And Abraham believed him; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.” In Galatians 3:6-9, Paul uses this passage as a basis for his understanding of the importance of faith.
Just as all their ancestors before them, on that starry night in January the retreatants had faith in the Lord.
During this time of the year, I cannot help but think of the Wise Men who were called to follow the star which led to the Christ Child. When they arrived at the manger, they paid homage and their hope for the future must have been revived.
There have been many rocky roads to walk during this century. I know that my faith has wavered, and my foot has slipped on many a rock. Yet faith has carried me onward and my hope for the future revives every time I encounter a kind act, a loving smile, an encouraging word.
During the Advent and Christmas seasons I invite you to experience a quiet starry night. May the peace and love of the Lord flow over you, faith enliven your journey and revive your hope for a peace-filled future.