The sky takes on shades of orange during sunrise and sunset, the colour that gives you hope that the sun will set only to rise again. (Ram Charan)
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:24 NIV)
The heart rests on two picture books, the glow of a candle calling out its design. It was a treasure found in Kenya on one of my latest journeys. Made of soapstone, the heart was carved by hand.
In fact, everything about the heart is blessed by the work of someone’s hands. Men labor long to mine the rocks, and then plunge them into water before each one is carved into a purposeful thing. Women then take the carved designs, sand them to smoothness, and give them a final rinse to reveal the delicate work of the artisans.
The heart is a reminder of Kenya. But it is also a reminder of something more. It tells the story of the gritty, earthy persistence of hope.
The soapstone is mined and then broken by machete into smaller pieces – pieces that become bowls or angels or elephants or hearts. And with every strike of the machete, small fragments of stone fall to the ground.
Those fragments are filled with hope.
You see, soapstone gives birth to new soapstone. When the rocks have been quarried, the laborers take those fragments and fill the pit. In five to ten years, new soapstone forms. Soapstone that will be mined and broken, then plunged into water and carved into a purposeful thing. Soapstone that will be sanded to smoothness and given a quick rinse to reveal its beauty.
It is not a speedy thing, this birth. But neither is hope. Hope is undaunted by time and unafraid to stay. Hope sees beauty long before the handiwork is done. And hope continues to give birth to hope, using the fragments of this broken world as the very things that will give life again. Hope persists.
Take heart, friend, in this Advent season. Hope is here.
I was always told, if you see someone defiled
You should look them in the eye and smile
Take their hand or better still take them home.
(Indiscriminate Act of Kindness, Foy Vance)
Where does hope find you right now? What prayers do you need in this season? Please message me – I’d love to pray for you.
Make Advent a tradition in your home. Purchase a copy of “for you love: the advent collection.” Thoughtful words along with beautiful images and illustrations (and its own playlist inspired by hymns of old) are available now on Amazon. And “for you love,” the prayer journal that invites you to respond, is on sale for a limited time only at WordPainters!