Theme: Making Room for Hope

Written by Sally Vogl, First Congregational Church of Fresno

Isaiah 61:1–4

To give them a garland instead of ashes…

These verses In Isaiah remind us that the spirit of the Lord is upon us and has anointed us. From this deep well, let us bring good tidings to the afflicted. We focus on these good tidings at advent. But remember, the arrival of each and every day is an opportunity to rise, giving hope, comfort, and praise to those who are brokenhearted or enslaved by sadness or loss.

Like a mighty oak, we can grow skyward. With our roots firmly planted in spirit, we can branch out to embrace our brothers and sisters in Christ. A garland, worn on the head or around the neck, it’s often formed from branches and leaves in the shape of a circle. The circle begins with God’s love for us and continues with our love for others. Let’s proclaim the oil of gladness for all, singing a mantle of praise.