We gather here today in response to God’s hope
that calls us like church bells,
heralding the birth of a savior
and new life offered to all.
Despite the failure of our systems to protect the innocent.
Despite the arrogance of those who say there is no hope.
and disheartening battles, we come.
We come because of all these things,
believing that things could be different,
that things could be better;
that we could be changed.
God help our unbelief.
We gather in hope
and in need of God’s perfect hope.
A hope like unbounded light
at the end of our tunneled vision.
A hope like cool waves on sunburnt skin.
A hope that smells like fresh-baked bread,
sustaining our bodies.
A hope that tastes like fresh spring water,
restoring our souls.
A hope like the mess of a palette
resolving itself on canvas
We are God’s people.
We light this candle
as a sign of our hope in the God who comes to us in our darkest hour
and makes a home among us.
O come, Immanuel.
Composed by and for the American Church in Paris community, the work of the people to the glory of God.