by Ross Pendley
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.”
What is hope? Hope to me is a feeling of expectation and desire for certain things to happen. And how do we give hope to others? I would say that we do that by demonstrating love and care for others. All people have a need to feel loved and cared for.
As I considered hope and how I could possibly give hope to others, my mind went to crocheting. I was taught to crochet by my mother at a time when I needed to clear my head as a young man. That was a gift of hope from her to me, and having been isolated and somewhat disconnected from the world for the past several months, I have used that gift to find my own sense of purpose. I am beginning to see that projects that I have done have given me hope and might have even given hope to others and their families.
Making blankets for new babies reminds me of the hope for new life and new beginnings. Seeing the joy of parents who celebrate their new babies and their appreciation of the hand-made blankets is also a sign of their hope. One of my favorite crochet gifts was small sample blankets that I gave to children at church for their baby dolls. Those samples were pieces that might have been thrown away, but these children accepted them with much delight as blankets for their dolls. There is a message of hope in there that even those things that could be discarded by one person might be a source of joy for another. These children will lead us one day and there is so much hope in their joy of simple things.
I have given blankets and scarves to people that I have seen doing for others in the background. It has meant something to me to watch them giving to others and doing some really important things like working with undocumented students, supporting groups within the church or just quietly doing the work of the church. They do this without any expectation of being recognized or rewarded. Some are so humble that it is difficult for them to accept something given to them, but they accept the gift with joy. These friends are what giving hope is all about.
I have given blankets to people at special times in their lives to mark those occasions as hope — blankets to new college students in their college colors and to people moving into their new home, and even to friends who are at the end of their life. I like to think that wrapping in a warm blanket reminds them of my love and care for them.
When I started writing this devotional I really wasn’t sure that I could see that crocheting for others is a gift of hope, but I think I’m seeing now that Joy and Hope really go together. For me joy is a two-way street: I get great joy in the giving of my gift to others, and I hope they have great joy in the receiving of my gift. It seems to fit the definition of hope.
May you find joy in hope during this Advent season.