This coming Sunday is the first in Advent, the period of recognition of the birth of Jesus Christ. The announcement of the imminent arrival of the Messiah to the Eastern Magi and the Shepherds (and by default, all followers of Christ through to the modern age) generated HOPE. This is signified in the first candle of the Advent crown many households will light this weekend.
Hope is not merely wishful thinking. To say that one hopes for something, but with only a hankering in the heart rather than an anchored ideal, is to be wishing. Hope is strong. It is affirmative. It lifts the inner being of those who have found something to which they can attach some degree of trust and anticipation for an improvement upon whatever circumstance prevails currently. In times of great sorrow, those with hope in their hearts will suffer less. Those with hope will have a solid goal or ideal to which they can turn their eyes, hearts and minds in the times when they are not preoccupied with acting in life. Indeed, hope will inform their actions, for such actions will surely be for the furtherance of the hopeful one and will contain the hope in their completion.
Hope heals. Hope is a prayer. Hope encourages. Hope motivates. Hope ensures one foot is put in front of another and urges us to keep on keeping on. If the goal is our anchor, hope is the chain which ties us to it. Hope presides where faith fails. When all is let loose in the world, hope remains.
Take time this week to contemplate...