I have a lottery ticket in my top desk drawer at work. I bought it a couple weeks ago when the power ball was at a record high. I don’t know why I keep it, but I have not yet been able to throw it out. I feel like it symbolizes something. Or maybe I just keep hoping that I read the numbers wrong, or there will be an announcement about a consolation prize. I know that this is silly, but I can’t quite bring myself to throw out that ticket. It is worthless and empty, the kind of hope the world tells us is available. Maybe, what if…, someone has to win, why not me? Ending in not you, maybe not, someone did win but it sure wasn’t you. The hope the world sells seems to leave one or two with way too much, and the rest of us with worthless slips of paper.
Last night, after the girls went to bed I re-lit the first advent candle and read the guide I had been given by my church. I sat in my dining room, with one white candle lit (the only ones the Kroger had) and prayed through the guide. I sang the suggested song, and tears ran down my face.
“Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, shall come to you oh Israel”
Last Sunday Jill came over to borrow some paintbrushes and told me that my grandfather had been rushed to the emergency room. This Sunday my dad called to let me know that they had made the decision to stop restorative care. Every time the Peanut sees me crying she climbs into my lap.” You sad mommy?” She asks, “You sad?” I tell her I am and she pats my back. “Is okay mommy, daddy come and give you hugs.”
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, shall come to you oh Israel.”
Emmanuel, God with us. This is not an empty hope. It is not a ticket that some people win from and most people throw away. Even in my dining room, with the wrong color candles and my Grandfather slipping away on the other side of the country, I can rejoice. Emmanuel shall come to me, He shall come to my family. It is a certainty. There is hope eternal. God is with us. Hallelujah.