Recently, my wife Joanne and I went on a trip to Cabo, Mexico, for our best friends’ daughter’s wedding. We spent four wonderful days in Mexico with our best friends, and when we returned home, we gathered with them, just three days later, to look at pictures and share stories. That might seem like a strange thing to do, since we had just been together for this shared experience. However, it is human nature to tell stories, especially when the stories are positive—even joyful—in nature. Our stories “couldn’t wait”!
In his book, Cannonball Moments: Telling Your Story, Deepening Your Faith, author Eric Clayton explains that, “Amplifying your own values to reach through your story to the stories of others invites not just individual healing, but also the healing of communities.” In the telling our stories of our experiences in Cabo, we were sharing about the things we value most: friendships, family, love, joy, marriage, commitment, and hope. In sharing those values, we reinforce them and lift up one another.
During the season of Advent, we focus on what we value most: the love, mercy, compassion, and justice that are promised to us through the coming of Jesus Christ into our lives. We also focus on the value of hope, a virtue that is not just a “warm-fuzzy” feeling but the key to navigating through a world too often filled with darkness and despair. During this Advent season, may we share stories of hope—from Scripture, from the lives of the saints, and from our own lived experience—with one another, stories that build positivity and optimism and dispel darkness and despair.