Advent: Sharing Stories of Hope

family telling stories around Christmas tree with Nativity scene in front of them - ferrantraite/E+/Getty Images

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.

About Joe Paprocki 2769 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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